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trees with christmas lights, downtown Boston

Our crew finished installing holiday lighting last week at this residential property near Copley Square in Boston.

Whether you want a festive display of holiday lights at home, or to boost the curb appeal of your business for shoppers, you’ll want the finished product to be safe, energy-efficient, and beautiful.  Outdoor Perspectives, a national outdoor lighting chain, has 7 simple steps for DIY Christmas lighting: SHINE ON. Here’s our summary:

  • Sketch: Develop a plan on paper before you begin. Together with “after” photos, this will simplify your work next year!
  • Hang: Give yourself several hours of daylight, to avoid frustration or errors from rushing.
  • Investigate: Inspect all extension cords, and test each string of holiday lights while you’re still on the ground.
  • No Shortcuts: Use only lights and decorations labeled for outdoor use. Follow your wiring plan and avoid the temptation to overload circuits.
  • Encase: Tape up connections with electrical tape to protect them from the elements.
  • Only use clips: No staples or nails.
  • Never go solo: Use the buddy system whenever using a ladder.

Additional advice from our own lighting experience:

Your lighting plan should include not only the desired lighting effects, but how you will wire them with the available outlets.  Also consider how lights will be controlled. Do you want to have to go outside in your bathrobe at midnight to shut off the system?  If not, consider an outdoor-rated digital timer, photocell, or wiring onto an indoor switch.

Controllers will help you to save energy, but so will choosing LED fixtures.  While the upfront cost can be a bit more, LEDs consume up to 90% less energy than incandescent lamps, and last up to seven times longer. That’s a lot of years of happy light-bulb testing! While consumer-grade products may not be as durable as professional-grade lighting, you will get the best performance from reputable vendors and manufacturers.  Look for UL and EnergyStar labels.

Sound too complicated, cold, or time-consuming? Contact A Yard & A Half for dazzling holiday lighting.

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