Christmas Light Installation | Holiday Light Service

Holiday Lighting

Holiday lighting technology has been subject to considerable development and variation since the replacement of candles by electric lights, and SafeSide Electrical Contractor has stayed up-to-date on these new trends. SEC also offers installation service for any season's holiday lighting.

While originally used during the Christmas holidays as Christmas lights, modern electric light arrays have become popular around the world in many cultures and are used both during religious festivals and for other purposes unconnected to any festivities.

Incandescent light bulbs have been commonly used in holiday lights until recently. These lights produce a broad-spectrum white light, and are colored by coating the glass envelope with a translucent paint which acts as a color filter. Some early Japanese-made lamps, however, used colored glass.[1] While incandescent light sets are less expensive to purchase than similar LED sets, the operating cost is significantly more. The paint on the incandescent bulbs (particularly blue ones) suffers from fading or flaking when exposed to weather. Older bulbs were also coated on the insides of the bulbs to prevent this effect, but were more costly to manufacture.

Light-emitting diode (LED) holiday lights are quickly gaining popularity in many places due to their low energy usage (about one tenth the energy used by incandescent bulbs), very long lifetimes, and associated low maintenance. Colored LEDs are also far more efficient at producing light than their colored incandescent counterparts.

There are two types of LEDs: colored LEDs and white LEDs. Colored LEDs emit a specific color light (monochromatic light), regardless of the color of the transparent plastic lens that encases the LED's chip. The plastic may be colored for cosmetic reasons, but does not substantially affect the color of the light emitted. Holiday lights of this type do not suffer from color fading because the light is determined by the LED's chip rather than the plastic lens. In addition, the plastic lens is much more durable than the glass envelope of incandescent bulbs.

White LEDs can be used as white holiday lights or to create any other color through the use of colored refractors and lenses similar to those used with incandescent bulbs. Color fading may occur due to the exposure of colored plastics to sunlight or heat, as with ordinary holiday lights. Yellowing may also occur in the epoxy body in which the LED is encased if left in the sun consistently.

LEDs use much less electricity (only 4 watts for a 70-light string) and have a much greater lifespan than incandescent lamps. Since they are constructed from solid state materials and have no metallic filaments to burn out or break, LEDs are also much less susceptible to breakage from impact or rough handling.

Most common consumer LED lamps produce intense, deep, pure colours, versus incandescent bulbs, which generally have subtler, yellow-tinted colours, often somewhat faded, especially if used outside. Blue tends to be the dimmest incandescent color, but the brightest in LED, while yellow is just the opposite. Very early strings of LED lights were noticeably dimmer than incandescent bulbs, but now are often noticeably brighter. These factors combine to give LED lamps a distinct aesthetic from older incandescent strings, although white LEDs behind colored lenses do offer the ability to provide a more incandescent-type appearance with most of the benefits of energy efficiency. In contrast, colored-chip type LEDs produce intense colours. The negative esthetics are largely due to the maturity of colored LED versus newer white LED technology. As the technology improves, so will the ability to change the aesthetics of the lamps at lower cost than at present. In 2007, "warm white" LED sets (having a color similar to that of a compact fluorescent light) became commonly available for the first time in U.S. stores. This color however would need to have more of an orange tint to match the color of very small incandescent bulbs because they burn at a lower temperature. Still, this provides a much closer match to incandescent light color than was available when only very cool (bluish) white was available. One can choose cool-white LEDs for their crisp or snow-white quality or warm white LEDs for their more familiar incandescent-like color.

Fiber optic technology is also used in holiday lighting, especially by incorporating it into artificial Christmas trees. Incandescent lamps or LEDs are located in the tree base and many optic fibers extend from the lamps to the ends of the tree branches. These devices frequently use a step-down transformer, because they have only one or two lamps or LEDs.

Lights are sometimes mounted on frames-typically metal for large lights and plastic for miniature ones. These were first used for public displays on lampposts, street lights, and telephone poles in cities and towns. For public displays large C7 bulbs are generally used, but by the 1990s light sculptures were being made in smaller form with miniature lights for home use. Consumer types now tend to come with a plastic sheet backing printed in the proper design, and in the 2000s now with nearly photographic quality graphics and usually on a holographic "laser" backing. Public displays often have outdoor-rated garland on the frame as well, making them very decorative even in the daytime. Places where notable displays of light sculptures may be seen include Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

On a smaller scale, one of the most popular light sculptures is the sparkleball. Sparkle balls are handmade globes made from threading holiday lights into a sphere built of plastic cups. The cups are joined by soldering, cable ties, or with a hand stapler. Usually spotted individually on front porches at Christmas, the residents of North Yale Avenue in Fullerton, California have made a holiday tradition of hanging 450 sparkle balls from the trees lining their street.

Early bulbs were sometimes made in shapes and painted, the same way that glass ornaments are. These are typically pressed glass, much as common dishware was at the time. These are reproduced in very limited quantity nowadays, typically found only at specialty retailers and online. Metal reflectors were also used until the 1970s, having a center hub of paperboard, which then had tabs that pressed between the bulb and the socket.

Miniature lights sets can come with attached ornaments, typically plastic but sometimes glass. These began mid-century with petal "reflectors" which actually refracted the light and focused it in beams, and perhaps even earlier with crystal-like ones. On both types, the bulb stuck out of the center, and the "reflector" could be removed from the socket. Later designs, though much less popular, included stars. LED lights now come molded into shapes, though the light comes from the top instead of the center.

Mini lights can also have full-size ornaments normally sold on sets of ten. Certain sets have more than one bulb per ornament, such as for snowmen and candy canes which are long. There is an enormous array of other designs, ranging from holly berries and poinsettias to star-shaped Santas and wire mesh snowflakes. There are also ones for other holidays.

Holiday lights can be animated using special "flasher" or interrupter bulbs (usually a red tipped replacement bulb included with the set) or by electronic controller. Flasher bulbs use a bi-metallic strip which interrupts the series circuit when the lamp becomes hot. An electronic holiday light controller usually has a diode bridge followed by a resistor-based voltage divider, a filter capacitor and a fixed-program microcontroller. The micro-controller has three or four outputs which are connected to transistors or thyristor which control interleaved circuits, each with lamps of a single color.

To learn more about holiday light installation by SafeSide Electrical Contractor, fill out the form below.



You're on the safe side with SafeSide Electrical Contractor


LED Recessed Can

Panel Upgrade

SubPanel Upgrade

Panel Change

Generator Installation


Commercial | Industrial Electric

  •     Tenant Improvement T.I.
  •     LED Lighting & Retrofit
  •     Ballast Replacement
  •     Buiding & Lot Lighting
  •     Commercial Solar Installation
  •     Dedicated Circuits
  •     Transformer | Switch Gear
  •     Equipment Disconnect
  • Residential Electrical

  •     Electrical Panel Upgrade
  •     Recessed Can Lighting
  •     LED Lighting & Retrofit
  •     Residential Solar Contractor
  •     Dedicated Circuit
  •     Ceiling Fan | Attic Fan
  •     Spa | Hot Tub Disconnect
  •     Generator Back Up
  • Low Voltage Electric

  •     Home Theater Design
  •     Audio | Visual | Surround
  •     TV Mount | Cable Concealment
  •     Security Alarm | Camera CCTV
  •     Voice & Data Wiring
  •     Telehone & Ethernet Cabling
  •     Access & Intercom
  •     Phone & Network Expansion