Your Guide to Great Christmas Lighting

Christmas Lighting
Christmas Lighting

‘Tis the season. Carols, hot chocolate, wrapping paper, and…CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!

Every year thousands of people pull out the lights and work to top Clark Griswold. But if you’re new to the Christmas light game, how do you know where to start?

We have some quick and easy tips to get you started on the road to Christmas light glory.

1. Plan–Yeah, yeah, this isn’t the part you want to think about. You just want to get started! But, a little planning will save you time later in the process. Think whether you want to hang lights from the gutter or shingles. Do you want white or colored lights, large or mini? Will you have lights on the bushes and trees, or just on the house? You could even take it one step further and actually measure all the straight lines you plan on attaching lights to.

2. Safety first–Be smart when hanging Christmas lights. The safest outlet to use is a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet. Also make sure your extension cords are rated for outdoor use, your lights are waterproof, and your ladder is sturdy. No one wants to spend Christmas in the emergency room!

3. Pick your light type–There are dozens of types of lights. The bigger C7 and C9 bulbs are more traditional, but miniature bulbs are becoming very popular. Net and icicle lights provide a nice punch to the landscape, and everyone loves the animated models sold in all the big box stores. LED lights will help you cut energy costs, and most fixtures come in LED options.

4. Get to work–Remember to use all purpose light clips instead of staples or nails. Take a step back regularly to assess your work and make sure it’s taking shape the way you want it to. Consider installing a timer along with the lights to guarantee they turn off when you want them to.

Now the best part. Call your whole family out into the yard, insist they drumroll and make a big production out of plugging everything in.

And hope it all works.

Happy Holidays!!

10 Ways To Save On Energy In Your Home This Winter

Winter Energy Saving
Save on Energy This Winter

Here in middle Tennessee, we’re lucky to have mild winters, without the bitter temperatures you find up north.

It still gets cold here, though, and with fall in full swing, now’s the time to think about prepping your home or apartment for winter. Simple fixes can help you save big on your energy bill in the cold months. Here are our top 10 tips:

1. Weather strips your doors and windows.

We all know there are cracks around the doors and windows of our homes, but how big is too big? If you can slip a piece of paper through the crack, you are losing too much precious heat to the elements. Add weather stripping or door sweeps to keep that expensive hot air in your home.

2. Turn down the heat when you don’t need it.

Most families now spend a significant portion of the day out of the house. Turn down the thermostat when you’re not home to keep costs down. You can also turn down the temperature at night and add warmer sheets and blankets to your beds. Of course, getting up in the morning could be that much more difficult!

3. Use those fans!

Fans aren’t just for summer. Locate the small black switch on the side of your ceiling fan and give it a little flick. Fans that run clockwise push heat down, keeping it in the rooms instead of floating along the ceiling.

4. Only heat the main rooms.

Do you have guest rooms or hobby rooms you don’t use much? Close the vents and shut the doors to those rooms so that you can funnel heat to the rooms you use more often.

5. Consider a space heater.

Central heat and air isn’t the only way to go. Consider turning down your thermostat and using space heaters to heat the rooms you use the most. This can save you significant money, especially if certain rooms heat faster than others.

6. Plug in the humidifier.

Artificial heat makes the air in your home very dry. A humidifier will add moisture to the air, making it feel warmer than normal. Moist air will also keep your skin and sinuses from drying out, which will only make the winter that much more enjoyable.

7. Keep your furnace clean.

As always, basic maintenance will go a long way to increasing energy saving. Clean your furnace and check the filters regularly. Replace filters as necessary and make sure all the vents are unblocked to keep maximum heat flowing through your home.

8. Unplug

Leaky doors and windows aren’t the only energy thieves in your home. Year round, make sure you’re unplugging TVs, computers, and gaming systems when not in use. Even when electronics are off, they pull energy from the outlets, increasing your energy bill every month.

9. Wash in cold water.

If you don’t already, wash your clothes in cold water. Heating water takes a lot of energy, and washing your clothes in cold water will cut down on it significantly.

10. Use LED holiday lights.

LED lights use about 75% less energy and last 25% longer than traditional lights. They’re also less breakable and therefore safer than incandescent. Remember to unplug them when they aren’t in use!

How to Create Perfect Outdoor Lighting

Perfect Outdoor Lighting
Summer may be winding down, but here in middle Tennessee that doesn’t mean we stop grilling out and being outdoors. As the temperatures cool a little, it can be the perfect time to get your outdoor lighting just right for fall evenings.

Keeping the outside of your home well-lit will also contribute to the safety and security of your house and family.

There are many different areas to consider for lighting outside your home, and each one has unique challenges. Here are some of our favorite solutions for outdoor lighting.

Front Entrance

A well-lit front entrance is the the best way to greet your guests. Lights on either side of the door will illuminate the entrance area, giving your home a welcoming look.

If you have a porch, you can also consider hanging a few fixtures close the the ceiling. Recessed or chain-hung is best so the lights won’t hang too close to arriving guests.

Garage

If you have the space, hang a lantern or other fixture on either side of the garage door. Otherwise, place one fixture over the center.

Consider installing motion sensors with these lights. You can set them to turn on at dusk and off at dawn or to stay off unless they sense motion. This will conserve energy, while still giving you the security and light you need.

Paths and Driveways

Everyone loves well-lit paths and driveways.

Low level path lights, set along the perimeter of the driveway or path, will guarantee everyone’s safety as well as provide a warm welcome to guests. Many of these are solar powered and programmed to turn on at night and off during the day.

Decks, Porches, and Patios

These areas are perhaps the most used part of your outdoor living space, and there are several lighting options. Like the front door, place a lantern on each side of the door leading into the house. Then use any combination of mini-lights, path lights, and lanterns to create the perfect vibe for your outdoor living room.

Don’t forget the citronella candles to chase away those pesky mosquitoes!

Pools and Fountains

Lastly, don’t forget the pool.

Low-voltage or LED lights are popular for pools, but you can also install fiber-optic lighting in the pool itself. Floating and solar-powered lights are also nice options.

As with any electrical project, there are always building codes and regulations to think about. Contact us at Schaffhouser Electric, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about outdoor lighting.