How To (Safely!) Hang Holiday Lights

hang holiday lights

Now that Halloween is over, the most wonderful time of the year is fast approaching! The festive rooftop decor may excite you, but few homeowners are comfortable installing lights at such a height. Hanging holiday lights causes over 15,000 accidents each year. Our holiday lighting tips will help you safely hang holiday lights.

During snowy or icy conditions or when the weather is wet, avoid hanging holiday lights. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to follow all building and safety codes as well as to ensure his or her own safety. To avoid damaging the shingles, we recommend that only a professional should stand or walk on the roof. However, if you must do it on your own, it is advisable to have a helper with you during the installation process. As well, working at heights and hanging holiday lights are hazardous activities for some people with certain medical conditions. If necessary, consult your physician first.

Hanging Holiday Lights

Prepare Your Plan

To determine which lights you will put where you will need to measure your roof. That way, you’ll know how many light strings to buy. To measure the roof, you’ll need to use a ladder. If you’re not used to working on ladders, learn about ladder safety before you start. An extension ladder can help you reach higher if a regular ladder isn’t sufficient. It is also possible to guesstimate the size of your roof and purchase more lights than you need. If you find that you have extra lights, they can usually be returned to the store. 

It is also imperative to remember that using too many lights from one outlet can be dangerous. Make sure to plan the lights that will be used and which outlets they will be connected to ahead of time. An electrician can advise you on how many lights you can power safely.

Organize Your Tools

After you’ve bought the lights, make sure there are no damaged or burned-out bulbs by turning them on for an hour or so. Once the lights are on the roof, replacing bulbs is much more challenging.

Here are some additional supplies you’ll need:

  • Roofing light clips.
  • Extension cables for outdoor use.
  • Tape for securing cords.
  • Durable shoes.

The Most Effective Way to Hang the Lights

Hanging holiday lights causes hundreds of accidents every year. Make sure you have someone watching over you at all times. Lights should never be hung if there is snow or ice on the ground or roof, or when it is wet outside. Be sure to follow any ladder safety requirements and local building codes. Many ladder safety accessories as well as items to prevent ladder damage to the home are available in most home improvement stores.

Step 1: 

Always have an assistant on hand when hanging lights – a capable helper is a must. Attach the first few clips to the bulb or cord (depending on the clips you purchased) before you climb the ladder. The short string makes it easier to work, so don’t connect the next string until you have finished the line.

Step 2: 

Install your extension cords at the power outlet and start at the closest spot on the roof. When you start there, you know your string will have no problem reaching the outlet. You should not turn on the lights until they are hung, as they can be very hot.

Step 3: 

As you climb the ladder, position yourself carefully and take your steps. Make sure you always maintain three points of contact with the ladder while attaching the clips to the gutter with one hand. Have your assistant fix any loose clips if they come loose.

Step 4: 

When installing icicle lights, make sure the line is taut and straight by placing the clips close together. That way, the lights will match the roofline perfectly.

Step 5: 

Follow the roof, taking care not to reach too far that you shift your center of gravity. Make sure the ladder is moved frequently.

Step 6: 

You should only add more clips or another string when you are on solid ground, so you can use both of your hands.

Step 7:

In cases where there are no gutters, such as a gable edge, attach the clip carefully to the drip edge or shingle. Avoid puncturing the roof in any way.

Step 8:

A variety of options are available if you wish to reach higher. Rent special equipment, like a bucket lift, or use a taller ladder or light-hanging pole. Make sure never to walk or stand on the roof.

The Right Way to Hang Holiday Lights Without a Ladder

Yes, it is possible to hang lights without needing to climb up on a ladder. There are a few different ways.

There are a few simple solutions, such as a light hanging kit. With these poles in the kits, you attach the clip to the lights and then place it in the pole’s grip. Then, attach the clip to the gutter by extending the arm.

You may want to consider renting a bucket lift instead if this option does not suit you. To take down the lights, you will also need to rent them, but the rental costs aren’t always as high as you think. Bucket lifts are sometimes the only way to reach the peak of high-pitched roofs safely.

Final Thoughts

You may want to hire someone to hang your holiday lights if you are uncomfortable on ladders or at heights. Ensure that the company you choose specializes in holiday lights, follows safety protocol on your roof, and is insured. There’s nothing more frustrating than being held liable if an installer falls or hurts themselves. It may be possible to hire a roofing contractor to hang the lights for you for a fee.

Call us if you have any questions at 636-699-0449.