October 18, 2017

The Very Basics of DIY Outdoor Christmas Lights

 

 Lighting the Trees–

 xmas house

Probably most everyone would agree that Christmas lighting for the trees in your yard and adjacent parkway (if you have one) is a terrific idea.  But if you’ve never done this before, just how as a “newbie” do you execute this task?  Although it looks quite foolproof, as if anyone could do it, it’s helpful to have some tried and true tips.  First of all come up with a plan for what you would like the outdoor tree lights to look like.  Then if you will be decorating coniferous trees (those are the pine) select C7 and C9 Christmas light strings.  These bulbs are the old standard light bulbs that come in colors.  The C7 are the smaller ones and the C9 are the larger ones.  Unless the tree is very small, consider using the larger bulbs for a brighter tree with more visual appeal.

 For deciduous trees (those are the ones that have lost their leaves for winter), we recommend mini Christmas lights.  These are the little white Christmas lights that you’ve probably seen around on trees for years.  In fact, they are so popular they are used on many trees year round.  Among the notable establishments to use them is at New York’s Central Park eatery, Tavern on the Green. 

These little white lights lend themselves to the slender branches of this type of tree.  Yet other good choices for a deciduous tree are variations on the theme of little white lights.  Consider icicle lights, the cascading droplets of white lights.  These can also be purchased in various colors, such a green, purple, pink and blue holiday lights.  Various other icons are available in the icicle format.  We’ve seen plenty of stars and snowflakes, and sometimes even more unusual choices like candy canes, Santas and candles.

 

Lighting the House–

When it comes to lighting your house, any of the above mentioned bulbs can be used successfully.  In order to hang them from gutters or around eaves and windows, you might want to consider purchasing some holiday lighting clips which will make the whole process easier.

 Lighting Everything Else–Some other products you might consider trying are net lights and rope lights.  Net lights have bulbs which are attached to a net which you simply drape over a bush.  The benefit of a net is a nice uniform distribution of lights with a minimum of hassle.  Rope lights consist of a string of holiday lights encased in a plastic tube.  These work well for decorating fences, windows, stair railings and doorways.  Available in “always on” or pre-set blinking  patterns, rope lights are typically sold by the foot.  Spotlights are yet another commonly used light for Christmas decorating.  They are used to draw attention to a particular area of interest in the yard.  Trees, wreaths, doors, windows and interesting displays in the yard are often highlighted by using spots.  Another favorite of ours is to use spots for uplighting trees.  With this technique the light is placed on the ground a distance in front of the tree and pointed slightly upward. This method allows one to create a dynamic effect against the wintry, night sky.

As you plan for the holiday tap into these simply ideas and be ready with your creativity.  You’re sure to come up with some eye-popping holiday designs to spruce up the yard around your home.

Christmas Decorating With Icicle Lights

Icicle Lights–an All-American Trend

Icicle lights are one of the more recent trends in the category of Christmas lighting.  Evoking the wintry cascade of icicles, these holiday lights have been widely used all around the country.  When planning your Christmas decorating you’ll want to include plenty of icicle lights.

Important Considerations for Holiday Lights

Contribute to the environment by using energy efficient xmas lightA few simple considerations will help your Christmas lighting project go smoothly.  Before you begin hanging your lights, formulate a plan.  Icicle lights are especially conducive to use along the roof line where they simulate the effect of winter’s own icicles.  Other good uses for icicle lights are placing across the tops of windows or affixing them to the branches of trees–all places where Mother Nature herself would place her own icicles.  Resist the temptation to place icicle lights in places where they would never accumulate naturally.  Doing so just looks silly.

Using Holiday Lights Safely
xmas decorating with Icicle lightsWhen shopping for holiday lights be sure to look for the UL (Under Writer’s Laboratory) rating.  This is a fairly good indicator that the lights have been manufactured according to safety standards that will not pose a hazard for you or your home.  When selecting lights for your Christmas decorating project be sure to purchase the right type of lights for the job.

Use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights for outdoor applications.  Using holiday lights in the incorrect application can pose a danger and adversely affect the longevity of your Christmas decorations. Outdoor lights are designed to stand up to harsh outdoor weather conditions, while some lights are designed specifically for indoor use such as on trees.

A final suggestion is to consider a timer for managing your display of Christmas lighting.  Timers allow you to program the hours you wish your display to be actively lit and save you the hassle of turning lights on and off.  Timers are available for both indoor and outdoor applications, so choose the one that best meets the requirements of your Christmas decorating display.

LED xmas lights make holiday decorating greener 4

What are LED Christmas Lights?

In recent years, LED Christmas lights have proven to be a more durable, energy efficient and cost effective way of illuminating your home around the holidays. They use much less wattage, they run 50-times longer and are safer all around. But what exactly is this technology, and more importantly, why is it so much more efficient than the run-of-the-mill incandescent bulbs?

Why LED for Holiday Lights?

what are led xmas lights 48Let’s look at a little history of LED technology: The discovery of LED technology is thanks to a Russian radio technician named Oleg Vladimirovich Losev who discovered in the 1920s, that the diodes in radios emitted light. In fact, LED stands for light-emitting diode. LED technology is based on the movement of electrons through a electric diode and when the diode is turned on, energy is released in the form of light.

While Losev is credited to the discovery, any practical use wasn’t discovered until the 1960s when a General Electric employee named Nick Holoyak Jr. developed the modern light-emitting diode. But it wasn’t until 1968 when Hewlett Packard found a real use for the technology in their calculators. Since their inception, it has been realized that LED technology was much more energy efficient than using incandescent lighting, but was more expensive because it required a more exact science. It was in 1998 when LEDs were being used for Christmas lighting.

what are led xmas lights 48 1LEDs Used in Christmas Decor

Today, America is beginning to switch over to LEDs in all aspects such as lawn lighting, outdoor home lighting and Christmas lighting. In 2007, the famous Rockefeller Center tree in New York City was illuminated with 100% LED lights. In today’s tough times, the fairly new technology is gaining large momentum in the holiday decorating industry is saving businesses and consumers lots of money by cutting back 75% of holiday energy consumption while stimulating the economy.

LED Lights: The Future of Holiday Lighting

Tired of looking for that one bulb that burnt out? Are strings of holiday lights running up your energy bill? Do your Christmas tree lights run way too hot? If so, you need to look into LED lighting.

Since their inception, lights have been a staple in the holiday decorating process. A reindeer here, a wreath there, but no decorated home is complete without some strings of lights around the house as well as the tree. Only until recent years has LED technology become present in Christmas lights, but in these tough times they couldn’t have come soon enough.

LED Lighting Advantages

Many tests have been run to contrast the standard incandescent to the newly sought after LED technology. After comparison, tests showed that there are amazing advantages to using LED lights, but like anything else does not rule out some drawbacks.

Power Consumption

Consumer Reports writes that after testing LED against incandescent lights, LED tremendously outperformed the latter. The test showed that LED used up to 33% less power than their outdated brethren. They go on to say that they can save you ten dollars every 300 hours. It looks like LED has the power!

Sustainability

Now that we know that you can save some bucks from using LEDs, you probably want to know what your investment can get you. Well it turns out that LEDs can burn up to 4000 hours without quitting! Incandescents were reported to burn out in half that time. According to Wisegeek.com, LED lights are “Used often in the dashboards of jet planes – so burn out after one season is highly unlikely.” Things are looking bright for LEDs – maybe not that bright.

Brightness

With any relationship there is some give and take and this one is no different. While the LEDs may have won in the bang-for-your-buck category, they fail to out-glow the incandescents. Consumer Reports says that while LEDs may run cooler, it is because of this that they are dimmer. Productdose.com also says that while the dimness of LEDs is not very significant in the comparison of incandescants, the drawback of the lower power is a more focused light rather than a halo-like glow.

Replacement

You’ll be glad to know that if by some chance one of your new LED lights does burn out, it is a piece of cake to getting them all glowing again. Unlike incandescent lights, individual LEDs do not contain a filament that will shut off all the other lights on the string. According to Wisegeek.com, they instead use light emitting diodes that run off the movement of electrons inside the bulbs.

After close review of the two competitors, there is no doubt that LED has come out on top. In four basic grades of value, LEDs take home three. It appears, without pun intended, that incandescents cannot hold a candle to the awesomeness of LED lighting for your every holiday needs.

Have Yourself an LED Christmas

have urself an led xmas copyChristmas, in the modern tradition, most definitely calls for a bright, sometimes eccentric, display of outdoor lights and tree lights. There’s no doubt that it is not a trend, but a paradigm in Christmas celebration. And in light of recent research and economic downturn, LED lights turning out to be a new revolution in Christmas lighting.

Great Advancements in Christmas Lighting

For one thing, LED Christmas lights can give you more bang for your buck. Because of their power-saving electron diode technology, LED Christmas lights can run for over 4,000 hours without burning a bulb. On average, they use about 33% less power than regular incandescent lights and are about the same price – averaging at about $10 for a 50-bulb string.

Variety in Outdoor Lights

have urself an led xmas copy 1A website, holidayleds.com, proves that not only can you save money on bills, you can get a grocery-store-like variety. The outdoor lights category can be found with 20 varieties, varying from shape to size to color – green, blue, white, multi-colored, round, oblong, you name it.

What about Christmas Tree Lights?

Don’t worry, you can find dozens of varieties on holidayleds.com, as well as sites such as christmaslightsetc.com and 1000bulbs.com also ranging in variety of color, shape and size.