How Much Does Christmas Light Installation Cost?
Hanging Christmas lights can put a home in the holiday spirit. Professional Christmas light installation cost varies from $218 to $663, with an average cost of $437.
- Typical Range: $218 to $663
- National Average: $437
There is nothing more magical than a home decked out in Christmas lights. Colorful strands of lights strung across railings, roofs, and trees are a beautiful sight to see. The time and effort it takes homeowners to hang the lights themselves, however, can quickly take the magic out of the moment. Before the holiday season approaches, homeowners may want to consider hiring a professional to install their Christmas lights, taking some of the stress out of the holidays.
According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, Christmas light installation costs range from $218 to $663 or $437 on average. The exact cost depends on the size of a home, the type of lights, the project scope, and several other factors. While installation is always included in the scope of a lighting installation project, the purchase and post-holiday removal of the lights may or may not be included. Before hiring a professional for a lighting installation job, homeowners will benefit from clarifying this as well as many other items detailed in this guide. This guide will also help homeowners select the right holiday lights and the right light installer.
Factors in Calculating Christmas Light Installation Cost
Installing Christmas lights may seem like a fairly straightforward task, but there are plenty of nuances that affect the overall price. Installation costs vary depending on the size of a home, the type of Christmas light, the services included in the project scope, and more.
The cost of Christmas light installation depends first on the size of a home. Homeowners may pay only $250 to have holiday lights installed on a small house, but they could pay as much as $1,800 for a large, multistory home. Based on home square footage, homeowners can expect to pay the following costs:
|1,000 square feet||$250 to $600|
|2,000 square feet||$300 to $750|
|Two-story, 1,500 square feet||$400 to $1,000|
|Two-story, 2,500 square feet||$500 to $1,200|
|4,000 square feet||$500 to $1,800|
If homeowners know the total linear footage of Christmas lights they want to install, they can estimate the overall cost of hanging Christmas lights with linear pricing. In general, homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $5 per linear foot. This linear footage pricing includes installation and often includes takedown after the holiday season is over, but it does not typically include the cost of the lights themselves. Homeowners can talk with an installation professional to clarify what is and what is not included in their linear footage light installation pricing quote.
Type of Lights
Some homeowners choose to purchase Christmas lights directly through the light installation company. This streamlines the process, so they do not have to shop for lights themselves or find working lights from past holidays. Christmas lights cost $80 to $300 on average or $8 to $30 per strand. The exact cost depends on the type of light; there are many to choose from, including incandescent, LED, dome, C3, C5, C6, C7, C9, and commercial. Incandescent Christmas lights cost $5 to $20 per strand, LED lights cost $13 to $60 per strand, and dome-style lights cost $6 to $15 per strand. If homeowners wish to include the holiday lights themselves in the project, they can expect to pay an additional $0.50 to $2 per linear foot.
Christmas light installation at a minimum includes the labor cost of installing the lights. There are other items that may or may not be included in the project scope. Most homeowners want the same company that installed the lights to take them down at the end of the season. This service can be included in the initial pricing estimate, but it is best for homeowners to clarify exactly what is included. Additionally, some pricing will include the cost of the Christmas lights themselves, and some will not. If the homeowner already owns holiday lights, they’ll want to make sure lighting costs are not included in their service quote.
Labor costs for installing Christmas lights on houses can be anywhere from $300 to $800. Hiring an individual to do the job is usually less expensive at $60 to $100 per hour. A professional light installation company will have a few different packages to choose from, usually ranging from $400 to $1,800 each. Each package will typically include installation, takedown, and the cost of the lights themselves.
Christmas lights are often hung in high-up places, like the eaves of roofs and the tops of trees, for the best illuminating effect. Reaching these elevated locations to install the lights is not always an easy task. Homeowners may end up paying extra for holiday light installation in difficult-to-reach areas: about 20 percent more, or a cost range of $150 to $1,200. The installer will need to bring and use additional equipment, like extended height ladders or a power lift, to reach the elevation. The extra cost for these accessibility requirements is typically included in the initial installation price quote.
The cost of installing Christmas outdoor lights varies from region to region due to factors like local labor and material costs. For example, in the Midwest region, Christmas light installation costs $515 on average, while it costs $344 on average in the Northeast. Similar light installation services average $402 in the Northwest, $1,933 in the Southwest, and $781 in the Southeast. Homeowners can reach out to local light installers near them or search for “Christmas light installation near me” to request quotes and compare the cost of services in their area.
Additional Costs and Considerations
The cost factors detailed above are almost always applicable when homeowners are determining Christmas light installation cost. Below are a few additional factors that may also play a role, depending on the scope of the project.
Additional Electrical Work
If a home doesn’t have outdoor electrical outlets in the necessary locations to install Christmas lights, this additional electrical work may be added to the project. Hiring an electrician for this work will cost anywhere from $50 to $100 per hour, plus a call-out fee of $25 to $75. Another reason a homeowner may need to hire an electrician when installing holiday lights is to install permanent, buried electrical wires for power in a location beyond the home.
Setting up a light timer that automatically turns the lights on and off at a certain time of day makes holiday decorating much easier. A holiday light timer costs about $10 to $30. These timers can work on battery power or be plugged into a nearby outlet. Homeowners can talk with their hired light installer or electrician to decide on the best timer option for their setup.
Since the holiday season is only a short period of time, some homeowners choose to rent their Christmas lights. Certain installers will offer the ability to rent lights as part of a package deal with their installation services. The total cost for light rental, installation, and takedown is typically between $200 and $550. Light rental is best for homeowners who are trying out Christmas lights on their home or as a temporary situation. Over time, the best financial decision is for the homeowner to purchase their own lights and hire the installation separately.
Tree and Landscape Decoration
While Christmas lights are most often strung on roofs and railings, homeowners can also install them on trees and around other outdoor landscaping. The labor cost to wrap a tree with Christmas lights ranges from $75 to $125 for a small tree about 6 feet high up to $300 to $1,500 for a large tree as high as 28 feet. For an average-size tree of 12 to 18 feet, homeowners can expect to pay $125 to $250. The exact price will depend on the height of the tree as well as the shape and type of tree.
Like other technology, Christmas lights can be purchased with smart features. These types of lights cost anywhere from $20 to $200, depending on the exact feature. On the basic, entry-level end, Christmas lights can be operated by a handheld remote. On the more advanced end, certain smart lights can be operated from a smartphone or tablet. This includes the ability to turn the lights on and off as well as change the colors. Smart Christmas lights almost always have LED bulbs, which last longer than standard bulbs.
Installation Costs by Types of Christmas Lights
There are many types of Christmas lights on the market, each with a different style and illumination. Whether homeowners purchase their own lights from one of the best places to buy Christmas lights or directly through the light installer, the following is what they can expect to pay depending on the type of light. The cost for each type is per 25-foot strand—an average-size, 1,000- to 2,000-square-foot home will need between 10 and 20 strands for full coverage.
Incandescent lights are the most common type of Christmas light and cost between $5 and $30 per strand. These strands are more budget-friendly than other options but use the most energy and produce some heat. They also do not last the longest, as individual bulbs can burn out quickly. Incandescent lights can be full-size or mini.
LED holiday lights cost $13 to $60 per strand. Since LED lights tend to last a long time, the slightly higher cost is usually a good long-term investment. These lights are energy-efficient and brighter than traditional incandescent lights. If an individual LED Christmas light stops working, the single light can be replaced, which is not always the case with other types of lights. For these reasons, LED lights are usually the best outdoor Christmas lights for homeowners to purchase.
At $6 to $15 per strand, dome lights are small and round, mimicking a dome. The light from dome lights is soft, glowy, and widespread. While these lights work well for holidays, they are also used for landscape lighting to brighten up a large area.
Christmas lights can be categorized by C-series—“C” stands for cone size or the size of the cone-shaped light bulb. C3 lights are the smallest, with a 1/2-inch diameter and 4/5-inch height. These lights cost anywhere from $12 to $35 per strand, can be either LED or incandescent, and are most often used to wrap around trees, shrubs, and porch railings.
C5 lights are slightly larger than C3 and very similar in size to C6. Homeowners can expect to pay between $15 and $40 per strand of C5 lights, which are a good compromise between size and quantity of bulbs. Since the bulbs are smaller than some of the larger C-series lights, there are more bulbs overall per strand. C5 lights are available in LED and incandescent versions.
For $17 to $40 per strand, C6 lights look great on outdoor trees and shrubs as well as indoor mantels and stairways. These lights are slightly larger than C5 and give off a fuller appearance. C6 lights can be purchased as either LED or incandescent.
C7 lights are bigger yet and cost $16 to $80 per strand. These lights can either be incandescent or LED and are slightly smaller than the popular C9 Christmas lights. C7 lights are ideal for exterior use at smaller homes, condos, and town houses.
C9 Christmas lights are a common size used for illuminating roofs and windows on homes. At $15 to $70 per strand, there are fewer bulbs on these strands than there are on the other sizes, but the bulbs are larger and have a brighter and more dazzling effect. C9 lights can be either LED or incandescent.
At the higher end of Christmas light tiers are commercial-grade versions, which cost anywhere from $20 to $200 per strand. Commercial lights are more heavy-duty, fit for buildings that could experience more wear and tear. These lights are almost always LED and can be customized to meet certain specifications or trimmed to meet a certain length.
Benefits of Christmas Light Installation
The idea of not having to hang Christmas lights by themselves is appealing to any homeowner. The benefits of a professional-looking light display, time savings, reduced stress, and proper safety add to the reasons hiring professionals to install Christmas lights is a good idea for homeowners.
The winter months are dark and can be gloomy, but a home decorated with holiday lights has extra illumination, and the more outdoor lighting a home has, the fewer dark spaces there are for intruders to hide in. While Christmas is often an exciting time for families, it can also bring an increase in robberies as thieves look for opportunities to steal expensive gifts from homes. While holiday lighting alone won’t necessarily deter intruders, pairing lights with one of the best home security systems can make a thief think twice before making a home their target.
Hanging Christmas lights on even the most average home will give it a touch of holiday spirit, and with so many lighting options, it’s easy for homeowners to customize their decor and stand out from their neighbors. Whether the homeowner just wants to hang a few strands of white lights on their roof or create a lighting show paired to music for neighbors to enjoy, there are plenty of ways for them to make their home’s holiday lighting unique.
Many families enjoy driving around neighborhoods during the holidays to check out the light displays. While hanging Christmas lights can be a stressful DIY project for homeowners, the project can be well worth it when the homeowner knows that passersby are stopping to check out their handiwork (or the work they pay a pro to complete). Decorating a home with lights can also be a mood booster during the darkest part of the year.
Christmas Light Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
It might make sense for homeowners to DIY Christmas light installation for a small display with strands of lights around a porch railing or a few shrubs, but when the display is larger, it is often better to hire a professional for the job. Hiring a professional holiday light installer makes the most sense for a few reasons.
First, a professional will do a professional job. That means the lights will be hung evenly, at the ideal height, and look like a true holiday spectacle. Homeowners will also save time by hiring a professional. Trained light installers can usually finish the task in just a few hours. The homeowners can also rely on the professional for their expert advice on where to hang the lights and how many light strands would look best on the home.
Last, but certainly not least, hiring a professional is the safest option for homeowners. Installing Christmas lights usually requires using a ladder, which can be dangerous for inexperienced homeowners. Additionally, some lighting installations may require modification to electrical wiring, which is a task that should always be done by a trained professional. Homeowners who want to try hanging some basic lights may want to read some tips for hanging holiday lights first.
How to Save Money on Christmas Light Installation Cost
Around the holiday season, many homeowners might be looking to save some money on the cost of their Christmas light installation. The following tips will help homeowners get in the holiday spirit while keeping some extra cash in their pocket.
- Buy the lights yourself. While many Christmas light installation companies will offer to purchase the lights for you, there will be at least a small markup on the price. By purchasing holiday lights yourself, you cut out the middleman and do not have to pay that additional cost. Make sure you purchase quality lights that will last many seasons and enough strands for all of your decorating needs.
- Get multiple quotes. If you request pricing from only one installer, it is impossible to know if you are overpaying. Always get a pricing quote from at least three different companies so you can compare the cost of services. Make sure you get pricing for the exact same project scope from each, whether that includes takedown and the price of lights, so the comparison is apples to apples.
- Plan ahead. The further in advance you can schedule a Christmas light installation, the better. Installation companies will get extremely busy right before the beginning of the holiday season and may have to charge extra to get your services scheduled. Start contacting companies in the fall to get your light installation scheduled ahead of time.
Questions to Ask About Christmas Light Installation
Before hiring an individual or company to install Christmas lights outdoors, homeowners will want to be sure they fully vet them, their processes, and their pricing. The following is a selection of worthwhile questions that homeowners can ask to compare the services of various holiday light installers.
- Are you licensed and insured to perform this type of work?
- Will you provide a written quote and contract?
- Do you offer free estimates?
- How long have you been in business?
- Will the work be completed by an employee of your company or a subcontractor?
- What is included in the project scope?
- Does the pricing include installation and takedown?
- Are Christmas lights included in the project?
- Can I have the Christmas lights I already own installed?
- Are there any extra fees for accessing difficult-to-reach areas?
- Does my property have power outlets in all of the necessary locations, and if not, will you install them or do I need to hire someone else for the job?
- Where do you suggest hanging Christmas lights on my home and property?
- How soon can you schedule the installation?
- When will the lights be taken down?
- Do you require a down payment, and if so, how much?
Before hiring a professional to put up and take down Christmas lights, homeowners may want to read through these frequently asked questions. The more homeowners know about the entire light installation process, the more informed their decisions will be.
Q. How long does it take to install Christmas lights?
It will take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours to install Christmas lights on an average-size home. The exact amount of time depends on the size of the home and the amount of detail in the display. As the job gets more complicated, the number of hours required for the installation will increase.
Q. How do you hang Christmas lights professionally?
To hang Christmas lights, professionals use tools such as ladders, light clips, extension cords, and the necessary wiring to connect the lights to a power source. They hang Christmas lights in areas visible from the front of the home, like porch railings, roof eaves, and trim and on shrubs and trees in the front yard. Professionals will also ensure there are enough lights to fully illuminate the house, and will use GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) circuits to plug lights into.
Q. How do you measure a roof for Christmas lights?
To measure a roof for Christmas lights, measure exactly along the roofline. This can be done by standing on a ladder at the roofline or walking at ground level.
Q. How long do permanent Christmas lights last?
Permanent Christmas lights last anywhere from 4 to 10 years. Traditional incandescent lights last around 4 to 6 years, while LED lights last longer, between 7 and 10 years.
Q. How long can you leave Christmas lights plugged in?
Homeowners are advised to leave Christmas lights plugged in for no more than 4 to 6 hours in the evening. Christmas lights should not be powered 24/7, so rather than flicking them on and off throughout the day, a time block of 4 to 6 hours in the evening works best.
Q. Do Christmas lights use a lot of electricity?
Christmas lights can add between $5 and $75 to an electricity bill per month. To decrease this impact, homeowners can opt for LED lights, which use less energy and last longer.
Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, Fixr, HomeGuide, Ownerly