It’s that time of year again, when homeowners everywhere plan their holiday outdoor displays, string up festive lights and watch their electricity bills literally go through the roof. Whether you’re aiming to “win the neighborhood” with your holiday display, or you’re creating something more modest and tasteful, be safe when hanging those lights! Here’s a quick primer to shield yourself (and any friends or loved ones helping you) from harm.
- Use a sturdy, high quality ladder when hanging lights, and always ask someone at the bottom to hold it for you.
- It’s lovely to hang lights on trees in your front yard, but be aware of how your trees may intersect with power lines. Know where those lines are, and don’t hang lights on trees that could come in contact with them during a storm. (Both wind and heavy snow can significantly shift the positions of even large trees and bushes.)
- Don’t use metal tacks or nails to hang your electrical lights. Instead, purchase insulated hangers designed specifically for the purpose; you can find these at most hardware stores this time of year.
- Use the right outlet for your exterior light display. You should plug any exterior lights into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which will automatically shut off the power if it gets overcharged.
- Extension cords need a rating for outdoor use, and remember to keep the cords away from paths and walkways. An over-long extension cord can cause a tripping hazard.
- Use waterproof lights for your outdoor holiday display. Like extension cords, lights have indoor and outdoor ratings; use outdoor lights only for your exterior display.
- Know your limits. Don’t turn your holiday lighting display into a competition with your neighbors. Instead, do what you safely can, and focus your energy on enjoying the season with your family.
For seven more holiday safety tips, see our post from December 2015 here. Those strategies still apply!
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