Parts & accessories
The Gear You Need for the Best Light Display
There’s always that one house on the block that has the best holiday lights display by far. If you want to be that house this year, there’s a lot of gear you need that will make that happen.
Supply Options Galore
There are many supply options available, especially if you want to sync your lights to music. The most important thing you need for that is software. A few program options include:
In addition to the software, you’ll need a 16-channel amplifier controller, USB connector, and 50-ft. Cat5e network cable. Of course, you’ll also need a computer and holiday/Christmas lights, as well as extension cords and speakers to play the music. Some homes use an FM transmitter, but that isn’t a common option because it can be pricey.
If you need more than 16 channels, you can add more controllers for a more elaborate display. Just keep in mind that everything needs to connect together—you need to combine everything on each channel down to one plug through a multi-plug extension cord. You’ll also need to determine a place to mount your lighting controller.
As an alternative to software, there are other supplies you can use to get stunning results. Lumenplay® Lights are indoor-or outdoor-friendly and can be controlled by an app. Philips Hue Lightstrips are great for lining windows, floorboards, or awnings. Wemo® Switches makes a WiFi enabled outlet, and the LUCKLED MagicPrime projector creates projected displays without hanging lights. You can also use the “old fashioned” method of a universal remote.
Finally, there are a few more things to consider investing in to make your light hanging process easy. You’ll need access to an outlet protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which is the proper outlet for powering your lights. A light hanging pole will help you get to hard-to-reach places. Detanglers are essential for reusing lights. Gutter and roof hooks, a power stake, and a ladder are also important. If you need to repair lights, LightKeeper Pro will help you find a dead bulb so you can replace it quickly.
Prep & Execute
There are many tips Generac can offer you for smooth and fast light display preparation. Begin by measuring on and around your home to determine how many lights you need. Don’t forget to measure the distance to your power source. Next, you should pick a theme. You’ll need to allow time to program your lights ahead of time. Choose the type of lights you want—incandescent, LED, or a combination of both.
To be on the safe side, you may want to obtain a permit. It is up to you as it’s not a strict requirement, but if neighbors complain, you’ll have the paperwork to back up your investment.
Test the lights by plugging the first strand into an extension cord. Then secure the clips on the roof and in the gutters before hanging. You can use adhesive strips for windows, railings, or columns. Then install a smart plug to control the timing of the lights from your phone (optional).
You’ll also want to make sure extension cords are kept out of the way. Avoid high traffic areas and tape cords across walkways. Keep all connections above ground, snow and water. Finally, be sure you have the correct length to travel to all your lights.
The Power You’ll Need and Use
At this point, you’re probably wondering just how much electricity these displays will use, and how much they will cost. While every display will vary, we can give you some guidelines. According to christmaslightsetc.com, typical light use of electricity for a season is $1.63 with LEDs and $10.78 with incandescent bulbs. If you use a combination of LED and incandescent, the cost will be somewhere in between. Heavier use will cost about $15 for LED and $115 for incandescent. If you are particularly “enthusiastic”, the cost could be $40 for LED and $310 for incandescent. These are things to keep in mind when setting up and choosing your lights.
As far as specific lights, there are C7 and C9 bulbs, as well as miniature bulbs. You should always choose waterproof lights so you don’t have to worry about the effects of rain and snow.
Aside from the cost of powering your light show, you’ll need a source to make the illumination happen. Your Generac portable inverter generator can power any holiday lights display from simple to elaborate. Running the lights on the generator instead of utility power can save you money, especially when local rates go up in winter. Impress your neighbors with the best holiday display on the block—and let Generac help.
Make sure you have enough cords to connect all those lights properly. If you need an extension cord, Generac has options specifically for your inverter generator. Find the cords you need here.