The year is rapidly drawing to a close, and that means the holiday lighting season is back. If your home needs a decorative refresh, here are some tips to take your artistic stylings to the next level. There are two areas to cover, so let’s get started.
Safety is up first. If your lights are ground-mounted or can be installed standing on the floor or ground, skip ahead. However, since most decorations involve some installation at height, you need to do the following:
1. Have a ground crew (one or two people) to steady your ladder and pass up the decorations–an invaluable part of safety and for keeping you supplied with untangled light strings and fasteners.
2. Remember to keep a safe distance from any overhead electric service.
3. Don’t overreach. If you cannot get to a point with your body entirely centered between the sides of the ladder, get down and relocate it.
4. Don’t overextend the ladder. If your ladder is too short, find a longer one. A ladder extended beyond its working limits is dangerous, as is standing on rungs too close to the top.
5. Don’t overload circuits by stringing more light sets together than the manufacturer recommends. Check the packaging for details.
6. Check your wires for breaks and cracks in the insulation that can lead to shorts. Light selection is next. If possible, invest in LED lights this season. Unlike the first versions to hit the market that were characterized by rather harsh and unattractive colors, the newest generation’s colors are reminiscent of the incandescent lights of yore.
Why go the LED route? Longevity and cos tof operation are the two key reasons. Unlike incandescent lights, whether the large or mini bulb, LEDs will last for many, many years. LEDs have no filaments to burn out. Aside from physically destroying the bulb, the LED is amazingly robust. Given the modest number of hours of operation, you can expect LEDs to last seven or more years.
The cost of operation is the most significant benefit of LEDs; these gems of technology advancement truly sip electricity. A reasonable estimate of power consumption is seven watts per 100 lights. How does that compare to the old incandescent? Each of those bulbs used 12 watts, so a string of 100 devoured 1,200 watts!
Truly want to manage the cost of operating holiday lights? Invest in timers to turn the lights on and off automatically. Really into gadgets? Invest in a smart power strip for your lights that you can program and control from your smartphone.