How to safely install Christmas lights

Published on 11 March 2023 at 13:00

Christmas Light Installation safety guide

Christmas Light Installation in Portland some Safety Tips from Saint Nick's Christmas Lights 

If you're looking for safety tips on how to safely install Christmas lights this holiday season look no further. Saint Nick's Christmas Lights has outlined 10 important ways to safely install Christmas lights this upcoming season. On average according to franciscanhealth 160 people are injured every year from Christmas Light related accidents. Follow this guide so you don't become incident number 161!

Dont be Clark Griswold 

Clark Griswold Plugging in Lights Christmas light installer

10 Steps for Proper Christmas Light Installation 

  1. Limit the amount of lights you plug in
  2. Don't run lights continuously
  3. Don't use indoor lighting outdoors
  4. Used LED instead of Incandescent bulbs
  5. Examine your bulbs each year
  6. Don't lay your lights strand on the ground
  7. Use the proper equipment 
  8. Retire and properly dispose of old lights 
  9. Once your tree dies dispose of it
  10. Proper storage

1. Why is it important not to overdo your runs of lights?


Cool White Christmas Lights Installed in Portland, Oregon

If you plan to go all-out with your Christmas decorations this year, it's essential to ensure that you have the appropriate electrical equipment, including properly rated power strips and an overall amp power capacity, to accommodate your plans.

To ensure the safety of your Christmas lights, it's crucial to have a secure power source. Overloading one outlet with too many lights can exceed the electrical load limit, resulting in broken circuits or more severe consequences. Additionally, avoid plugging Christmas light strands into power strips that are connected to extension cords running to the wall outlet, as this can pose a safety risk.

2. Give your lights some rest too!

Leaving your holiday lights on for extended periods can result in overheating, making it essential to turn them off before going to bed and avoid leaving them on all day. Even LED lights, which typically generate less heat, can overheat and cause catastrophic events like fires if left on for too long.

If you find yourself overwhelmed with the design or setup of your holiday lights, consider hiring a specialist in holiday lights installation. They can assist in setting up your lights and programming the controller for easy on/off control.

3. Label lights so you don't use lights intended for inside use outdoors!


Labeled Christmas Lights for professional holiday light installation

It is important to distinguish between indoor and outdoor Christmas lights and avoid using them interchangeably. This is because indoor Christmas lights are designed with less insulation, which makes them more susceptible to damage caused by sunlight, harsh weather conditions, or general wear and tear when used outdoors.

To ensure the safety of your holiday decorations, it is recommended to keep indoor and outdoor lights separate. Moreover, always check for the Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) seal on your Christmas lights to ensure they meet the necessary safety standards.

4. Out with the old in with the new, upgrade to LED bulbs!

LED C9 Bulbs Multi Color

LED bulbs provide a host of remarkable advantages over traditional incandescent bulbs. According to, LED bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR rating consume 75% less energy and can last up to 25 times longer than their incandescent counterparts.

This remarkable efficiency is especially pronounced in smaller bulbs like those commonly used in Christmas lights. In fact, suggests that more energy-efficient bulbs can be up to 95% more efficient and last thousands of hours longer, providing an exceptional value for the energy-conscious consumer.

5. Annually inspect your Christmas Lights!

Santa Claus Christmas Lights Portland

Bulb testers are invaluable tools that can help identify and isolate problem areas in your Christmas light strand, allowing you to identify dead bulbs or determine if the entire strand is unusable. You can easily purchase a Christmas light bulb tester online for less than $20, which is a wise investment, particularly if you're planning a large holiday light display.

Many bulb testers are equipped with a repair kit and replacement bulbs, making it simple to fix any issues without having to purchase new strands of lights frequently. However, it's essential to ensure that the bulb tester you select is compatible with the type of lights you have purchased. For instance, an LED bulb tester should be used with LED Christmas lights to prevent any damage.

6. Keep your Christmas Lights off of the ground!


Christmas Light Installation Reels

When setting up Christmas lights, it's crucial to keep them off the ground, particularly when decorating the exterior of your home. It's safe to use a Christmas light spool kept elevated during Installation and it's convenient versus untangling wrapped up lights. If you have young children or curious pets, it's essential to think through your design plans carefully.

Exposure to moisture and snow can cause puddles, ruining your lights. Additionally, animals may chew through wires, and people may trip over exposed light strands on the ground, resulting in injuries.

To avoid these issues, it's recommended to avoid placing lights on the ground. They make landscape stakes to elevate lighting you intend to use around your lawn. If necessary, use electrical tape to secure lights to the ground based on outlet logistics. Also, properly marking your lights will help to prevent these problems from occurring.

7. Practice safe sets … just kidding that's a gym thing … Ladder safety

Properly using a ladder for Christmas light installation

A significant number of injuries occur while hanging Christmas decorations and lights. It is crucial to practice good ladder safety to ensure your safety during the holiday season. This includes:

1. Inspecting your ladder for defects or damage before climbing it.

2. Never climbing a ladder alone or during bad weather conditions.

3. The golden rule is to maintain three points of contact on the ladder while installing Christmas lights.

When it comes to hanging Christmas lights, using a fiberglass ladder is recommended over an aluminum ladder. This is because aluminum ladders can conduct electricity, which can be dangerous. By taking these precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of injury while decorating for the holidays.

8. Safely dispose of old hazardous Christmas lights!

It is recommended that you avoid disposing of old or damaged Christmas lights in the trash, as this is harmful to the environment, and broken bulbs in a trash bag can pose a major risk.

Fortunately, many cities and counties offer recycling programs that include a special holiday lights drop-off period, allowing you to dispose of broken or malfunctioning Christmas lights safely. These programs typically accept all types of Christmas lights, including both incandescent and LED varieties, so you don't need to worry about whether your lights are compatible with the program. By taking advantage of these programs, you can reduce waste and ensure that your old Christmas lights are safely and responsibly disposed of.

9. The dried out tree has got to go bro!


Dead Christmas tree

Dried-out Christmas trees with holiday lights pose a significant threat to your safety and the safety of your home. Surprisingly, between 2015 and 2019, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires per year started by Christmas trees, according to a statistic put out by the National Fire Protection Association. During that time, the total cost of damages was $10 million annually.

The two most popular days of the year to dispose of a Christmas tree are January 2 and January 6. It is recommended not to let your tree linger for too long, and if you do keep it up for a few extra weeks, ensure you water it frequently to prevent it from becoming dry. By taking these precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of a potentially dangerous and costly fire in your home.

10. Be wise when storing your holiday decorations!

Christmas light storage

Properly storing your lights after the holiday season is essential to prevent broken bulbs both now and next year. To ensure the longevity of your lights, it is recommended that you neatly place them in a box or bin and securely tape it closed to prevent rodents and other pests from chewing through the wires.

Alternatively, you can organize and store your Christmas lights by wrapping them around individual pieces of cardboard. Simply cut rectangular or anvil-shaped cardboard pieces and wrap one set of lights around each piece, taping the end down to keep them secure. By storing them flat on top of each other, you can maximize space and protect your lights from damage. By taking these simple steps, you can extend the lifespan of your Christmas lights and avoid the frustration and expense of having to replace them year after year.

Professional Christmas Light Installation 

Saint Nick's Christmas Lights

Connect with Saint Nick's Christmas Lights, the best Christmas Light Installation company in Portland, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, and Vancouver if you're looking to take your holiday decorations to the next level? Consider hiring a professional Christmas light installer to transform your home or business into a festive wonderland. With our expertise and experience, we can create custom designs tailored to your preferences and ensure a safe and efficient installation process. Don't let the hassle and risks of DIY installation hold you back from achieving the stunning holiday display of your dreams. Contact a professional Christmas light installer today to bring your vision to life and spread joy to your community during the most wonderful time of the year! Fill out a form for a free estimate request.

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