Should You Hang Lights on Gutters?

Decorating Seamless Rain GuttersThe holiday season is here. Families are bringing trees inside, and putting lights on everything they can outside. And while we all know how great lights look on the outside of houses, gutters can complicate things. Rather than the standard wrap-light-strand-around-nail technique, hammering nails in your gutters is a recipe for disaster. Luckily, there are ways to get in the spirit without destroying your valuable gutters. Here are some things to make the decorating process even easier this year.

1. Create a Plan

Don’t forget to measure your roof before hanging lights. Drawing a rough diagram showing where you will hang the lights will help you visualize the finished product before getting started, and it will also provide some useful guidelines for buying the right sort of exterior lights. Additionally, if your lights are old, 2015 is a great time to buy new strands and update them. Almost all modern Christmas light strands use LEDs, which are vastly more energy-efficient than old incandescent light strings.

2. Get the Supplies

You should only use specialized exterior lights rather than the standard ones you usually hang on the Christmas tree. They will need to be durable and waterproof. Bad things can happen if they aren’t. Among the most common type of lights for hanging on gutters are incandescent or LED C7 or C9 bulbs, typically those featuring an icicle design. But the most important thing to buy are light clips specifically designed for gutters. These clips will help to ensure the lights and cables don’t get in the way of the gutters, potentially causing a blockage or even a fire. You will also need to choose between vertical or horizontal clips once you’ve determined which direction you want the lights to face.

3. Hang the Lights

Unless you’re comfortable getting up on a ladder, you may want to call someone to hang the lights for you. There are professional services who will hang lights on your house for a nominal fee (but maybe you’ll be able to convince your neighbor’s son to do it for cheaper). When installing lights, make sure you have plenty of cabling and an extension cord if necessary. At the same time, keep the cable taut so it doesn’t end up in the bed of the gutter. The clips are easy to attach to the sides of the troughs, and these should probably be installed before you hang the lights themselves. Finally, if you’re using an extension cable, make sure any unused power sockets are capped to protect them from the weather.