Hammond Services

How to Safely Put Up Holiday Lighting

Lights in a treeNothing puts you in the holiday spirit quite like a festive light display. Evenings spent driving through neighborhoods to look at festively-lit houses are a special part of the holiday season. Unfortunately, hanging lights on your own house is not quite as much fun. This Christmas, use these tips to easily and safely set up your outdoor holiday light display.


Don’t start without a game plan. Make a supply list. Map out where you want to hang lights and then measure the distance between the areas where lights will be and your outdoor outlets to determine which outlets you will be able to use.


White or multi-colored lights is always the big holiday debate. But, getting the right lights actually goes much farther, since not all lights are safe for outdoor use.

Be sure that all the lights you purchase for your display are labeled as appropriate for outdoor use. Also, check the packaging for the UL or ETL logos. These logos indicate that lights have been laboratory tested and deemed safe.

Also, avoid using seven-volt lights outdoors. These larger, brighter bulbs may seem extra festive, but they also burn hotter and could potentially start a fire.

Lastly, make sure that you check that your lights have built-in fuses in the plugs.

Whether you are using new or previously used lights, be sure to test them before hanging. In addition to plugging them in to ensure they work, look for missing bulbs and damaged wiring.


Before starting your project, make sure that you have everything you need on hand. Purchasing or gathering your supplies first will prevent last-minute trips to the hardware store. Here’s a list of some helpful things you’ll want to make sure you have close by before getting started:

  1. Extension cords: Only use cords that are rated for outdoor use. Never plug more than three strands of light into one cord. Cords should only be plugged into GFCI-protected outlets.
  2. Insulated hooks: Stapling or nailing lights up can lead to sparks or electrical fires. Instead, use insulated hooks that safely grab onto shingles or gutters.


Hanging lights usually means climbing up and down a ladder multiple times. Set up your ladder so that the feet are flat on the ground. Extension ladders should extend beyond the eaves and lean at a comfortable angle.

Planning ahead and paying attention to details can make hanging Christmas light much easier and safer. Before long, you will be on to the exciting moment when you flip the switch and watch your hard work come to life. For more information about electrical safety or advice on setting up your holiday light display, contact the experts at Hammond Services.