The holiday season is upon us and, as a result many of you may be out late into the night hanging light sets and decorations, in an effort to create a little holiday cheer…and perhaps avoid the family much like Clark Griswold of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
However, before you go all out, there are several things you should NOT do when it comes to holiday decorating. At A&H Electric, we want you to have a happy and safe holiday season, so we’ve put together a list of safety tips for you to improve your holiday lighting experience.
The Do’s of Holiday Lighting
DO invest in LED (light emitting diode) light sets. While you may have to spend a little more, you’ll definitely save money in the long run, as these light sets cost pennies to run and last twelve times as long as traditional bulbs.
DO always make sure you have someone helping you with your display – especially when you’re using a ladder. Even if it looks like an easy job, hanging holiday lighting really takes two-people; one on the ground to hold the ladder steady and one hanging lights.
Do be a good neighbor. When Clark plugged in his lights, he took out most of Chicago, leaving his neighbors in the dark. Freezing out your neighbors on Christmas Eve probably isn’t the best way to spread holiday cheer.
Do inspect holiday lights. Frayed or otherwise damaged electrical cords should be properly discarded as they are the leading cause of structural fire. Lights with broken sockets should also be discarded because they too pose significant safety hazards. Burned-out bulbs? Swap them out. The risk of an empty socket is too great.
Do use the correct outlets. Any outdoor lighting should be plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter, which will automatically cut the power in the event of a short, or a spike in power. You should also use UL rated electrical cords.
Do properly store your light lights and outdoor decorations so you don’t end up with a giant ball of tangled holiday lights next year. You can find power cord holders at virtually any home improvement store or create your own using leftover cardboard.
The Don’ts of Holiday Lighting
Don’t use a staple gun to hang lights. Staples and nails can cause serious damage to your siding, bricks/stucco, and rain gutters. Using these can also cause a fire. Instead, consider specially designed light clips, which are safer to use and easier to install.
Don’t use indoor lights on the exterior of your home. Outdoor lights often burn hotter than indoor lights, and are equipped with water-resistant cords, so don’t use them indoors unless they specify they are indoor/outdoor compatible.
Don’t leave your lights on all hours of the night or when everyone is away from home. In the event a problem develops, it is essential that someone be on hand and alert in order to react quickly, thus thwarting any property damage or personal injury.