It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! And what would the holidays be without some festive outdoor lights to help bring in the cheer? Every holiday season, homeowners hang outdoor lights to bring some extra holiday spirit to their homes. While hanging outdoor lights is a tradition for many, it’s essential to take some precautions to ensure that you and your family are safe while enjoying the festive display. Here are some tips on how to hang outdoor lights safely this season.
Mind the Ladder
When hanging outdoor lights, a ladder is often necessary. Before climbing, inspect the ladder for any damage or wear and tear. Make sure that the ladder is tall enough to reach the area where you’ll be hanging the lights and that it is stable. Place the ladder’s base on even ground and avoid putting it too close to power lines.
If using an extension ladder, ensure it is fully extended and locked into place before climbing. It’s also a good idea to have someone hold the ladder steady while you’re climbing it and while you’re up high.
Be Wary of Overloading Circuits
When hanging outdoor lights, be mindful of how many light strands you plug into one outlet. To avoid overloading a circuit, plug in no more than three medium-to-large light strands or six small light strands into one outdoor outlet. Overloading a circuit causes a power outage or, worse, a fire.
If you need to plug in more than that, consider using a power strip with its circuit breaker. That way, if too many lights are plugged in at once, the circuit breaker will trip and shut off the power before any damage is done.
Watch Out for Weather Hazards
If you live in an area with severe weather conditions, it’s essential to take extra care when hanging outdoor lights. High winds cause branches and other objects to fall, so secure your lights well. Heavy rains also wreak havoc on exposed electrical wires, so keep them as dry as possible.
Alternatively, if it’s windy or raining, postpone your light-hanging project until the weather clears up. Not only is it more challenging to hang the lights in bad weather, but wet cords and plugs pose an electrocution hazard.
Be Careful with Electrical Cords
To avoid potential hazards, keep cords away from high-traffic areas where they might get stepped on or tripped over. If you must place cords in high-trapped areas, tape them down to the ground with weatherproof tape.
In addition, always unplug your lights before disconnecting them from the outlet. This prevents you from getting electrocuted if the cord is still alive. Never use indoor extension cords outdoors. Indoor extension cords are not made to withstand the elements and can pose a severe fire hazard.
Inspect Your Light Strings Before Plugging Them In
Before plugging in your light strings, please take a close look at them. Check for any signs of damage, fraying, or bare wires. Also, make sure that the strings are rated for outdoor use. If you find any damaged areas, dispose of the lights properly and replace them with new ones. Damaged light strings are a fire hazard and pose an electrocution risk.
Hanging outdoor lights is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Taking simple precautions when hanging outdoor lights ensures that you and your family have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. Inspecting your light strings before using them, using the proper extension cords, and being mindful of the weather conditions are all crucial steps to take. By following these tips, you can rest assured that your holiday season is merry, bright, and safe!