What can be more magical this festive season than seeing Christmas lights all around our shopping malls, homes and of course Orchard Road?? Trees and even shrubs are twinkling away as we approach December, and did we not mention about the gorgeous colours the lights are shining away in this year?
Christmas lights bring such happiness and cheerfulness to people of all age groups every year and setting them up in our own houses is definitely more of fun than a chore. As gorgeous as it can look, remember that these lights are still hazardous as they are considered to be electrical appliances. Using them in the right way does literally bring light into our homes but being careless with it can land us in a deep mess.
So, to ensure you have a safe Christmas, we have compiled a list of 10 safe Christmas lights hanging tips for you this December!
1) Always measure accurately
Before you touch the lights, pick up a tape first and start measuring around your house. Get a piece of paper and pen and jot down your measurements so that you can work on the dimensions of the lights later on.
Start at the base of the house and get around all corners and turns first. Get the measurements of doors, windows and any other pillars or columns accurately. Picture it in your head while you look at your house and measure any area that you want to be lit for Christmas. It’s always better to overdo than to under-do, so get down all the measurements possible.
If you are planning to hang Christmas lights on high ground, make sure you climb carefully to measure them. Get someone to support you or your ladder while doing so as most likely you would need both hands to take a measurement of the area while balancing yourself on the ladder or on the higher ground.
2) Find out exactly where the power sources are
If you are new to your house or have not been around for too long, then you would not be entirely sure how the power system in your house runs. Take some time to analyse and find out how it is set up for your house.
Usually, the power sources are located outdoors for private houses, but some old type of houses may have one located indoors. The ones with an indoor power source might have a power cord coming through a case in a window so make sure to look out for that as well.
Take a measurement again of the length of the power cord required to extend the power source to your needed areas. Usually, this will be from the power source to the start of the roof-line where your lighting would begin.
3) Use good quality Christmas lights
Do not stinge on this and get premium quality lights! We cannot stress on this point enough. If you are planning to light your house up from the outside, then ensure that you get lights which are qualified and marked for outdoor use. Not following this and getting any cheap lights you can get is going to land you with either a short circuit at the least or a big fire disaster.
The packaging which your lights come in should clearly indicate if it is suitable for indoor or outdoor use. If you are getting outdoor use lights, then ensure that they are also marked to be weatherproof. Under Singapore’s unpredictable weather, we need these lights to be both resistant to rain and shine to not be a fire hazard.
4) Untangle all the lights before hanging
This is simply just a good habit and would come in handy if you have a family member or a friend who is a neat-freak around! While putting up the lights, it is daunting to see the whole pile of tangled mess and to think of untangling it at one go. Instead of blaming the person who stored the lights in a mess and thinking that you can untangle as you hang them, take up the work and do it before you get started.
It is a terrible idea to think that you can untangle on the go. It is definitely a lot worse to be standing 8 to 10 feet up in the ladder trying to untangle the lights while you are already fighting to keep yourself in balance. It is more dangerous, and also, what if you need both ends of the lights to untangle a single knot and you have already spent a few hours putting up the lights halfway through? Wouldn’t that be an absolute nightmare!
5) Make use of clips
Using clips to hang your lights in your house are a lot easier and friendly to the paint and surfaces of the walls than using duct tape or any other type of adhesives. Of course, using nails, screws and staples are going to leave a terrible mess of a sight when you remove them.
You can use clips to hang the lights at any spot in your house, and getting them is not difficult as well. You can get light hanging clips along with the lights at most Christmas decoration store.
6) Use a good ladder
As important as it is to use good quality lights, it is essential that you use a strong and sturdy ladder as well! You need the ladder to support your entire weight and keep you at balance despite any slippery surface it is standing on. This is more important if you are going to be covering the high grounds while being alone, without help from someone else to keep you in check.
Make sure you check if your ladder is stable and good to go before getting on it to get the lights hung. No matter what, just do not ever use any random block of furniture to get you up to higher grounds! That is totally unsafe and unacceptable.
7) Start from bottom to up
Whenever you are trying to light up tree trunks, very tall and dense trees or even your Christmas trees- start from bottom and make your way up in a spiral way. It might be tempting to think that it would not make a difference if you started from the top and cover the tree down to the bottom to connect it.
However, if you are handling an Evergreen Fir, then start at the top and zig-zag the lights down the trunk of the tree to the base. This is because doing this pattern requires more grip which is only achieved from starting from the top.
8) Do not rush!
Don’t rush your work and do not leave hanging the lights as a last minute job. Hanging the lights seems like an easy, no-brainer job to do but honestly, trust us, it takes a lot longer than we assume.
If you would like a rough guess, then once you have prepared and measured, take the measurement in meters and multiply it by 2 for you to get a gauge on how long it is going to take you in minutes!
9) Time the lights
We know it’s an incredible feeling to walk out in the dark to manually switch your Christmas decoration lights on, but why not add some modern touch to it by timing it automatically? It’ll keep you off the work after the fun ends in the first few days of wanting to switch it on yourself!
Christmas light timers are incredibly cheap and they last a long time, so you can keep them along with your Christmas tree and lights in storage for the next few years. You can set the timer to switch on the lights when it is dark and keep them for the next few hours or all the way up to dawn, depending on your preference.
10) Hit the switch!
Ah, this isn’t a great tip but we are sure this will be the most enjoyable part of the process! Once you are sure everything is plugged in right, the circuit is in good shape and you are out of and have not caused any potential safety hazard – go ahead and switch on those lights! Finally you would be getting to see the yield of your labour and you probably won’t stop yourself from shouting, “Merry Christmas!”