Decorating for the holidays can be fun and, whether you light it up like the Griswolds or you keep your display a bit more subdued, there are some safety measures you need to consider before you get started. Here are five tips for a safer holiday lights experience:
Inspect and Replace: Before you take those Christmas lights outside be sure to untangle them and inspect them for damage from last year. From rough light hooks to curious squirrels, there are lots of ways lights and cords can be damaged while they are outside. Frayed, cracked or broken cords can lead to electrical shock or fire.
Stick to Certifications: It’s easier to connect a bunch of cords together than it is to run multiple outlets, but overloading those cords can burn out your lights, cause a fire, or even worse, electrocution. Many newer LED cords can be connected to multiple strands, but check the instructions and the ratings on your lights before planning a strategy to get them to that outdoor outlet.
Use an Outdoor Outlet (and a Timer): Christmas lights shouldn’t stay on all the time – they can overheat and burn out. They are also pretty annoying if you have close neighbors. You also shouldn’t run your lights in through a window or a door, as the window or door pressure can damage the cords and cause more issues. It’s important to use an outdoor outlet and, for just a few bucks, you can get a timer that will let your lights operate on a set schedule.
Use Light Clips: Many people are accustomed to hanging their outdoor lights from screws or nails, whether up by the gutters, above the front door or on a tree. But those rougher metal fasteners can rub the cords of your lights and cause them to fray and crack, which is dangerous. Try using Christmas light clips, which are available basically anywhere Christmas lights are sold.
Secure Loose Strands: When you’re finished with a strand of lights, be sure to tie up or tuck back the last bit of the cord. Leaving loose ends on the ground can be a trip hazard, leaving them dangling from bushes invites critters and leaving them hanging from gutters adds unnecessary weight to the clips, which can cause the lights to fall.
Christmas lights are awesome – and we love them too – but be careful when you’re putting them up! If you’d rather let someone else hang those lights for you, your local TruBlue would be happy to help: https://www.trubluehousecare.com/services/seasonal-work/.