Outdoor Christmas Light Safety Tips

christmas-light-safetyNow that we’ve talked a bit about Christmas tree safety let’s take a moment to talk about outdoor Christmas decorations. There are many safety concerns that you should be aware of when it comes to hanging your lights.

Preparing the Area

Before you hang any Christmas lights on your roof you should be sure to clean your gutters. Dirty gutters are full of dry tinder that is just waiting to get ignited: dry pine needles, dry leaves, and more.

You also want to make sure that you’ve updated your outdoor outlets so that they’re GFCI ready. If you still have the old style outlets and have not yet updated them then you’re going to want to get that done before you hang any lights.

Finally, you should start with a game plan before you begin. You’ll be happier with the design and less frustrated, but that’s not the only reason. A game plan will let you note where all your outdoor outlets are so that you can plan a design that does not overload extension cords. Take into account that you can only place three light strings on one extension cord, and arrange for an electrician to add additional outlets if you need them.

Choosing the Right Lights

You should always choose UL-verified lights that are rated for outdoor use. Light strings should have fuses built in on the line. You should also avoid 7-watt light strings because they burn very hot. They may be brighter, but that brightness comes with an increased risk of fire.

Be sure to test your lights while you’re still on the ground. When you’re up on the ladder you’re likely to get frustrated and you’ll be tempted to hang the lights anyway, in spite of a bad light. That’s not a good idea, so just take the extra time to test them.

Choose the right Tools

You should also make sure that your extension cords are rated for the outdoors.

If you’re hanging from trees you should get a hanging pole. This will keep you off the ladder, which will help you prevent injuries.

But mostly? We want to make sure you know about insulated hanging clips. You can get these at any hardware store and they are so much safer than trying to staple up your lights. They’re actually designed to do the job of holding your lights up safely, and they clip right to deck railings, shingles, and gutters with ease. They’ll make the whole job less of a headache, too.

Do you need additional outdoor outlets or wiring upgrades to make your Christmas safer this year? If you live in Raleigh, Durham, Wake Forest, Carrboro or anywhere else in the Triangle Area, call us for a free estimate. We’re ready to help you have a happier, safer holiday season.

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