Things You'll Need
Light clips (one per bulb)
Outdoor extension cords
When hanging roof Christmas lights, skip the old-fashioned, unsafe methods of using staples or nails to secure the lights in place. Light clips designed to hold the light strands on shingles, gutters or fascia board hold the lights safely in place without damaging the home. Purchase clips designed to fit the size of lights in your light strands, or opt for all-in-one universal clips designed to hold many light types in a variety of applications.
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Step 1: Test Your Roof Christmas Lights
Plug in each strand of lights indoors to ensure that all the bulbs work. Replace bulbs that do not light, or replace the entire strand if the strand intermittently goes dark as you wiggle it. Untangle any tangled strands as you test them.
Step 2: Attach Clips to Lights
Attach one light clip to the base beneath each bulb on each strand of lights. The clips snap onto each base and may be repositioned as needed by rotating them.
Step 3: Position Your Ladder
Set up the ladder along one edge of the roof. Choose the side nearest an outlet.
Step 4: Connect to Christmas Light Extension Cord
Plug a strand of lights into an extension cord long enough to reach from the outlet to the edge of the roof with enough slack for the extension cord to follow a path along the ground against the wall upwards, then vertically up to a corner of the roof line.
Step 5: Climb the Ladder
Set the end of the extension cord near the outlet; then string it toward the ladder as you climb up with the light strand. Check as you climb to ensure the plug end of the extension cord stays put.
Step 6: Attach the First Clip
Attach the light clip nearest the extension cord to the edge of the roof, sliding it under a shingle or clipping it onto the gutter or fascia board.
Step 7: Begin Stretching the Lights.
Stretch out the light strand to attach the next clip onto the roof, keeping the cord fairly taut. Repeat the process with the next few clips within comfortable reach from the ladder without stretching or shifting your balance away from the ladder.
Step 8: Re-Position Your Ladder
Reposition the ladder to the next area; then climb it and clip the lights in place. Repeat the process until the entire strand is attached.
Step 9: Connect to the Next String
Plug another strand of lights into the first, if necessary, clipping the entire strand in place as you did with the first.
Step 10: Continue Until All Lights are Used
Continue lining light strands along the roof line, beginning where you left off. Plug additional strands into a separate extension cord, rather than creating one continuous strand, if using old-fashioned incandescent bulbs.
Replace old light strands with more modern light-emitting-diode (LED) varieties to cut down on electricity costs. LED bulbs use less electricity and emit less heat, and more strands can be safely attached to one another, running from the same power source.
Only use only lights and Christmas light extension cords rated for outdoor use. Indoor-style lights and cords are not designed to withstand the elements. Plug lights or extension cords into an exterior ground-fault interrupter (GFI) outlet with an all-weather protective cover to ensure safety.
Read the light packaging or tag to determine how many strands can be safely plugged into one another and do not exceed that amount, especially if using old-fashioned incandescent bulbs.
Always have at least one helper on hand when standing on a ladder to hang lights. Your helper can secure the ladder and make sure it does not wobble and can also help feed the lights up to you from the ground.
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- Jim On Light: Jimonlight.com's Guide to Christmas Lights, Part Five