Guide To Hanging Christmas Lights on Gutters

By Amy DeYoung

Christmas lights undoubtedly bring joy and life to any home during the holiday season, especially at night. Whether you use net lights or rope lights on your foliage, line your doorframe with Christmas string lights, or light up your walkways with incandescent bulbs, the effect is sure to be beautiful.

One of the most popular ways to decorate your home for the holiday season is to hang Christmas lights from gutters. But, before you unroll your lights and start hanging them from your gutters, you should take a moment to consider the most efficient and safest ways to hang these popular Christmas decorations.

Christmas 2023 [@christmas2023vibes] (2022, September 1.)

Create a Plan

Consider what you want your house to look like once you’ve hung your lights up.

Do you want a color-coordinated LED light display? Would you prefer using one color or mixing and matching colors? Are you planning on using different types of Christmas lights, such as icicle lights, incandescent lights, and mini lights?

Draw a rough sketch of your holiday lights and use this to record measurements in the next step. Next, create a list of all the supplies you’ll need and check off which items you already own.

We recommend the following supplies for this DIY project:

  • Weather-safe extension cords
  • Tape measure
  • A steady, tall ladder
  • String lights — verify that they are safe for outdoor use
  • Gutter light clips — make sure they are all horizontal or vertical
  • Yard stakes
  • Outdoor timer — optional

If your gutters are filthy, you’ll also want to take the time to clean your gutters or hire a professional to get the job done.

Measure Your Gutters and Lights

Before you start hanging your lights, check that you have enough Christmas lights for the project. Measure how long your gutters and railings are and how long your lights are, then compare the two. Purchase additional Christmas lights if needed.

Next, take a moment to locate your closest electrical outlet. Do you need extension cords? If you do, measure any you currently have and compare this to the length between where your lights will start and the outlet.

You may also need to pick up extra gutter clips or plastic clips. Gutter clips, or Christmas light clips, are inexpensive and efficient for hanging lights. Choose between a vertical or horizontal style. Some gutter clips can be used either way, depending on which one you select.

Test Your Lights

Nothing is worse than spending time clipping and adjusting lights on your gutters, only to find out that they don’t work once they’re already in place.

Before hanging your outdoor Christmas lights, test that all the bulbs are working properly while you’re still on the ground. Weed out and dispose of broken light strands beyond fixing. Take a moment to replace any LED bulbs that have gone out since you last used them.

If any lights have damaged or frayed cords, immediately get rid of them. A damaged cord is a potential fire hazard, and weather, like rain or snow, can cause them to short. At best, you would fry your lights, but at worst, your short-circuited Christmas lights could start a fire.

Follow Proper Safety Procedures

Did you know that the United States leads the world in ladder injuries and falls? Over 164,000 people are treated at the hospital each year for ladder falls. Three hundred deaths occur yearly due to these falls, most of which were from relatively short ladders, 10 feet or less.

Do not risk your safety to hang outdoor Christmas lights. Follow these safety precautions to stay safe while you’re hanging lights:

  • Always inspect your ladder before using it. Check that it’s stable, undamaged, and doesn’t have loose parts.
  • Hang Christmas lights during safe weather conditions. Never climb on a ladder when it’s windy, rainy, or snowy outside. This increases your risk of falling and injuring yourself, plus it will be more challenging to secure your lights if the roof and gutters are wet. Likewise, don’t hang your Christmas lights when it’s dark outside. Not only will this make the job more difficult, but it’ll be harder to see, and you’ll increase your risk of falling or slipping.
  • Move your ladder frequently. Don’t attempt to reach further than you can comfortably. You don’t want to fall due to tipping your ladder over. Instead, move your ladder for each five to 10-foot section of your roofline so that the area you’re working on is easily within reach.
  • Read your Christmas lights’ safety instructions. Depending on the type and brand of light, you may only be able to connect two to four strands of lights together based on the wattage. Read your instructions carefully and plan for this. If you’ve lost the instructions, look them up online and always go with fewer light strings on one circuit when in doubt.
  • Wear the right clothing for the job. Choose slip-resistant, closed toed shoes and skip leather soled shoes, which are not slip-resistant enough for the job. Long pants and shirts may also be a good choice because they give you additional protection against the dirty gutters and ladder.

How To String Your Lights With Gutter Clips

Plug your extension cord into your home’s exterior outlet and use a yard stake to hold the cord in place. Climb your ladder with the other end of the extension cord in hand, then begin the light hanging process. Use one or two gutter clips to secure your extension cord, then plug the first string of lights into it.

Mount your gutter clips by clipping them onto your gutter, then attaching the string of lights to the gutter clips. Use one gutter clip per light bulb spaced evenly for a clean, beautiful look. The more gutter clips you use, the tighter and neater your light display will look. Gutter clips will also prevent your lights from swaying or sagging in the wind, or worse, coming undone entirely.

Continue attaching gutter clips and securing your Christmas lights with them across the length of your gutters. Avoid connecting three or more strings of Christmas lights together as you don’t want to strain your outlet. If you need more than three strings to complete your display, find a second exterior outlet and continue the process.

4 Ever Lights [@4everlightsstl] (2022, September 5.)

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide on Christmas light installation for gutters gave you a quick refresher on every step you should take before and during the light hanging process. Take your time during the process for the best results and to keep yourself safe while you’re up the ladder. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to be your assistant during the process — it’ll go faster and be safer for you.

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