Decorating your home for the holidays is a fun, festive way to celebrate the season. However, when some decorations (particularly lights) are not used properly, they can create safety hazards or cause fires. Take steps to protect your home and family from electrical and fire hazards related to your outdoor holiday decorations by following these best practices:
- Inspect: Carefully inspect all lights (new or old) for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, loose connections, or damage before using. Be sure there is a bulb in each socket and discard damaged strands.
- Safety Tested: use only lights that have been tested for safety—look for a certification mark from UL, CSA, ETL or other nationally-recognized laboratory.
- Outdoor Use Only: Be sure to use only lights and extension cords rated for outdoor use. Red UL marks indicate the lights are safe for indoor/outdoor use, and green UL marks indicate the lights are only safe for indoor use.
- Securely Anchor: Protect outdoor lights from wind and storms by securely fastening them to trees, the house, or other firm supports with insulated holders or hooks.
- Be Cautious of Cord Insulation: Do not hammer nails, staples or tacks through cord insulation and make sure that cords are not pinched in doors or windows.
- Keep Dry: Keep all extension cords and light strings clear of snow and standing water and use electrical connection protectors to keep water out.
- Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCIs): All outdoor electrical lights should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). When differences in the currents of hot and neutral wires occur, GFCIs help prevent electric shock by breaking the circuit.
- Avoid Overload: Overloading electrical outlets can cause them to overheat and lead to a fire. Follow the decoration packaging and never exceed the maximum number of strings or devices. Remember: 15 amp circuits support 1,800 watts and 20 amp circuits support 2,400 watts.
- Power Lines: Keep yourself, your decorations, and your equipment at least 10 feet from power lines when decorating.
- Ladders: Inspect ladders for loose or missing screws, hinges, bolts, and nuts before using. Only use wooden or fiberglass ladders—metal ladders conduct electricity. Use the right ladder height (extends at least three feet past the edge of the roof) and ensure it is securely placed on the ground before climbing.
While holiday lighting contributes to the splendor of the season, it also shines a light on the not so pleasant parts of your home. Those sagging gutters, peeling paint, or damaged roof shingles are suddenly even more noticeable. Stop putting off the repairs and call SuperiorPRO to get your home in perfect condition. Your beautiful decorations paired with our exterior expertise will make your home the best on the block!