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» Installing Outdoor Christmas Lights

How Did I Do It? > Holidays & Celebrations > Installing Outdoor Christmas Lights
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Nothing adds more sparkle to a cold Christmas evening than the glitz and twinkle of outdoor lights. Outdoor lights are a sight to behold, particularly if they are fancy installations which are too complicated that you would wonder if it wasn’t put up and laid out by no less than a rocket scientist. Whether you are minimalist or extravagant when it comes to lighting up the house come Christmas time, it pays to have your installation done correctly in order to avoid mishaps, caused by faulty wiring and substandard equipment and materials.

Outdoor Christmas Lights
Outdoor Christmas Lights

The first thing to consider before beginning the installation is the wiring codes of the community. Make sure that your plans are in accordance with the wiring requirements of your locale in order to avoid area violations. Conversing with the neighbors and laying out the plans in the presence of a community representative is also a good idea, in order to be sure that your installation does not offend the next door neighbors, or the community as a whole.

Once you have acquired permission from the necessary authorities, plan your installation in detail by laying out all the materials and equipment which you will possibly use for the project. Also have a detailed schematic diagram of the installation handy, so you could track your progress and make sure that your project would be at par with your set standards. Have a definite scope of the size of your installation, so you can be guided concerning the materials which you will use, such as the number of bulbs, the length and type of wire and cable, the number of outdoor boxes, whether to use fuse or breaker connections, etc. Make sure that all the equipment and materials which you will use meet all product standard requirements; substandard materials have been too often the cause for many fires and accidental electrocutions.

In laying out the wiring for the outdoor installation, it is safer to use ground fault interrupter types of electrical outlets, with an underground feed cable for the lines which run beneath the ground. Make sure that underground layouts are buried at an ideal depth of 24 inches, so that it is deep enough not to be disturbed by any minor excavations which you plan to do in the future. With the electrical lines ready, position the outlets at a strategic area so that they are reasonably accessible from any point outside the house. Shield the outlets from moisture under the rafters, or better yet, use the waterproof type model.

With the preliminary steps and precautions in place, lay out the lights to be installed. Inspect the entire length of the line for frayed or cut wires and busted bulbs, and see to it that the plug has a ground prong which is compatible to the outlet. If you are not sure with the quality of the line or the circuit, it is better not to use the set, especially if it has been used for a couple of years now. If the set is in good condition, you may install it freely as you prefer as long as the wires or the bulbs does not end up being obstructive and hazardous, such as drooping the lines too much around the rafters, or laying the wires on walkways out of negligence.

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