Christmas C7 and C9 lights are the original outdoor lights, popular because they are durable, have a long life and come in an array of bulb colors and textures. Strings are usually purchased as a set of 25 lights and and up to 6 strings can be strung together. C7 and C9 lights are best used outdoors and on coniferous (evergreen) trees.
LED Christmas lights save about 80 percent in electricity. For this reason, they are becoming more popular. LED lights also have a long bulb life. Unlike some lights, if one bulb burns out, the others on the string will remain lit. They too come in a variety of colors and textures and illuminate with a unique, vivid glow.
Mini Christmas lights are inexpensive to buy and power, thanks to 1.5 or 2.5 volt bulbs. The mini lights are available in 50, 100, 150 and 200 light strings. They are better used to light trees with loose leaves and smaller shrubbery.
Christmas Rope lights are small lights enclosed within a rope of transparent plastic tubing. They are general sold by the foot, with the average being a 150-foot roll. With a steady rope, the lights glow at a constant rate. Rope lights are ideal for trimming windows, doors and railings or outlining an entire building.
Christmas net lights are often used to blanket bushes and trees with hundreds of mini lights. Lay the net over the bushes and wrap it around tree trunks. Most come with 150 lights.
Christmas icicle lights replicate the look of icicles hanging from eaves troughs. They come in strands of 100 to 150 lights. They are usually clear, white or pale blue. Most icicle lights have blinking capabilities to create the illusion that the icicles are melting.
QnA with John Lopes, the man behind the Christmas lights
For construction worker John Lopes, Christmas starts in November - the time of year people start calling him to hang their Christmas Lights. For about five years, Lopes has been doing the dirty work (that he says is fun) for those who don't have the time, or just don't want to, hang their own Christmas lights.
To contact John Lopes for your light-hanging needs, call 570-8669.
Q: Do you only hang lights in Lodi?
A: I go to Galt, Lodi and Stockton.
Q: What is the best way to hang lights? Using hooks, nails, a staple gun?
A: It depends. A gutter hanger would be the best. If there are bars or exposed wood, then a staple can work. You can get a plastic hanger, a clip from Walmart or Rite Aid - they're the best.
Q: What is the most popular type of lights you see in Lodi?
A: A lot of people like the icicles. Many are going back to the old big bulbs with all of the multi colors, they're the ones that were popular in the 80s.
Q: Do many people want simple or elaborate light decorations?
A: It depends. Some want Santa with the reindeers in front. But mostly it's basic roof-line lights that they want.
Q: Are people doing anything to try to conserve energy?
A: I haven't noticed anything. PG&E would probably love people to use (a lot of) lights.
Q: How long have you been offering the light-hanging service?
A: On and off for four or five years.
Q: What is the best way to store Christmas lights when you take them down?
A: Those big tupperware tubs are best. It takes about two of those. Then you can just put it in the garage or attic space.
Q: Do you buy lights for your customers before you hang them?
A: Usually they already have them.
Q: How do you charge? Is there a set rate?
A: It's 60 cents a foot. On average, it costs $120 to $150.
Q: How long does it take you to do a job?
A: Three or four hours.
Q: If someone wants to hang their own lights, can they do it on their own or should they get help?
A: You can do it by yourself. It is easy to do on your own if you have the time to do it. It can be a fun thing. The holidays are supposed to be about family so make it a family event. You might want to get someone to hold the ladder.
Lighting Safety Preparation
1. Before you string outdoor lights, check for overhead power lines. Don't place yourself or any object in a position where you or it may come in contact with a power line - the result can be fatal. Look up before raising ladders or other objects. Keep at least 10 feet away from overhead lines.
2. Make sure lights used to decorate the outside of the house are approved for outdoor use. Never use indoor lights outdoors.
3. If stringing lights on outdoor trees, make sure tree limbs haven't grown into or near power lines. Branches or entire trees can become energized if they contact a power line.
4. Check all light strands for cracked or broken plugs, frayed insulation, or bare wires. Worn cords can cause fires. Discard damaged sets of lights.
5. Route cords inside your home so they won't trip anyone. Don't place them under rugs, furniture, or other appliances. If covered, cords can overheat or become frayed and can cause a fire.
6. Use no more than three sets of lights on a single extension cord; this prevents overheating.
7. Always turn off tree and decorative lights - indoors and outdoors - when leaving the house and before going to bed.
Source: Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
What are the costs of setting up and running lights?
The City of Lodi Electric Utility and Pacific Gas and Electric Company say LED lights are best. Here's why: LED holiday lights are available at Target and Costco and through online retailers. Sets vary in cost depending on the style or number of lights on a stranfd. A string of 35 LED lights costs between $8 and $10, while a string of 100 LED lights retails for about $15.
LED (light emitting diode) produces light in a different way than incandescent lamps. While incandescent bulbs emit light by heating a filament and produce waste heat in the process. LED lights are illuminated solely by hte movement of electrons in a semiconductor material. Because they produce almost no heat, LED holiday lights present a greatly reduced risk of fire hazard over traditional incandescent strands and are safe to touch without worrying about burning your hands.
Lighting the night: Anderson family dedicated to unique display
You know the house. It's the Anderson household, where 11,400 Christmas lights illuminate the house on Lower Sacramento Road and Elm Street. Last year, owners Neil and Ruth Anderson handed out cocoa and popcorn as people watched in awe and tuned their car radios to 98.7 to listen to Christmas songs.
Starting Dec. 1, the house will once again be covered in lights. But this year, Ruth says there is more color. Visitors will still be able to listen Christmas songs on their radio, but this year there will be a different medley of more sacred Christmas songs, such as "Carol of the Bells" and "Joy to the World."
It was Neil's idea to start extreme Christmas lighting. After a friend showed him Internet sites, he bought lights online.
Not only does it offer a piece of Holiday cheer, but their five children love it too.
The Anderson house is located at 80 N. Lower Sacramento Road.