Top 5 Tips For Safely Installing Christmas Lights
Working with electricity can be dangerous. By following these tips, you can install your Christmas lights safely and prevent an electrical fire or a personal injury.
Start early. Plan your lighting design and map where you want to place each strand. Use a sturdy and safe climbing ladder, and take the time to make sure your design is even.
Use Clips or Hooks
Christmas lights brighten up a house and can add curb appeal, but they also can be dangerous, especially if not installed properly. Using the proper ladder safety tips, enlisting a friend, and using clips or hooks to hang your lights will help make your holiday decorating safer.
Use plastic clips that grip shingles or gutters to avoid nails or staples, which can pierce through wires or create a fire hazard. These clips can be purchased at any hardware store and should be about 12 inches apart.
Make sure all of the bulbs in each strand of lights are functioning and that there are no frayed wires before hanging them. You may also hire christmas light contractors to help with the installation. There are additional fuses in the plug of several strands that may be changed out as necessary. By doing this, you may save money on power and make sure the entire strand functions.
Check the Wires
Hundreds of home fires are caused each year by homeowners hanging Christmas lights. It is important to check your lights before plugging them in and remember the following tips to keep yourself safe.
Check for exposed wires or broken bulbs, as these are a serious fire hazard. You should also ensure that your light strands are only used indoors and in locations that will not get wet. Look on the original packaging or tags for information about wattage and voltage ratings.
If your strands require more wattage than your home’s circuits are rated for, consider using a power strip that has a built-in surge protector. GFCI outlets, which protect against electrocutions and electrical shocks, are even better, especially in wet areas. They can prevent a fire by shutting off an overloaded circuit before it burns out your house.
Don’t Climb a Ladder
Christmas lights are a staple of any holiday display, but haphazard installation can lead to serious injury. Following proper ladder safety guidelines and considering hiring a professional to install your holiday lights this year is important.
Ladder accidents are common when hanging Christmas lights, and winter conditions can make the situation even more dangerous. To avoid falling off your ladder, plant it firmly on flat ground before climbing, and only reach as far as you can comfortably before moving the ladder. It also helps to have a partner with you to spot the ladder and hand you new strands of lights.
If you need to climb a ladder, consider using plastic clips designed for the job or outdoor command hooks that won’t damage your roof. Also, always be sure to use extension cords that are rated for outdoor use.
Don’t Overload Your Circuit
A circuit can only handle a certain amount of power at one time. Adding too many lights and extension cords to your home’s electrical system can cause overload, which may result in a fire or a tripped circuit breaker.
A good way to prevent this is to distribute the power draw across several outlets and circuits. You can also check the wattage of each outlet in your house to see how many light strands it can hold.
It is also a good idea to read the instructions that come with your lights and avoid daisy-chaining. This will help prevent excess electricity from building up and causing problems with your wiring or outlets. If your outlets are tripping inexplicably, comb through them to ensure staples or any other damage is not puncturing them.
Don’t Leave Your Lights Running
There’s no better part of Christmas than taking a neighborhood stroll or driving around at night to see all the homes lit with twinkling lights. But these bright decorations can also be a fire and electrical hazard if you’re not careful.
Ensure your lights are plugged into outlets protected by GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) to prevent electric shock, and use extension cords with caution. It’s best to work with a partner and start hanging the lights mid-morning while plenty of daylight is left.
Check each strand of lights for cracked or frayed cords and discard any that aren’t working. It’s also important not to overload cords with more than three standard-length strings of traditional incandescent lights. A timer can be a great way to control how long your lights are on each day, turning them off automatically at dusk and on again at bedtime.