Christmas is almost here, and if you’re like many other homeowners around the country, you’re getting ready to hang your stockings, deck the halls, and light the Christmas trees. But before you do any of that, it’s important to consider proper home maintenance. Sure, Christmas lights may be mostly harmless, but as our lighting pros at Roby Services can tell you firsthand, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Keep reading to learn how to safely put up your Christmas lights this holiday season, and remember that we are available 24/7 for all your essential electrical services.
Our 5 Steps for Christmas Light Safety:
- Be Careful How Many Lights You Use: Most of us remember what happened to Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation. But as funny as that scene is, competing with your neighbors for who has the biggest lighting display really isn’t worth starting an electrical fire over. When putting up Christmas lights inside and out, err on the side of caution; you should not be using power strip upon power strip just so you can get all your lights up. If you ever notice your lights flickering or trip a circuit breaker because of how many lights you’re using, then trust us, you’ve gone too far For a little more reassurance, you can always install a backup generator, though again, you should not have so many lights up that you actually have to use it.
- Keep an Eye on Your Extension Cords: As we’ve already established, you should not take up too many outlets when plugging in your Christmas lights. But no matter how many lights you put up this season, you must also keep an eye on your extension cords. Both inside and outside of your home, extension cords represent a major tripping hazard, and can even be tempting chewing fodder for pets. Even more dangerous is the possibility that you accidentally pull your extension cord out too quickly, damaging one of your outlets. This holiday season, to prevent sparks from flying (literally,) make sure your extension cords don’t get tangled up, and try to either tape them down or use cable protectors to secure them.
- Make Sure You Have GFCI Outlets Before Hanging Lights Outside: Almost any home built in the last 20-30 years will have GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets in the garage/on the exterior of the property. It is extremely important to make sure you have these outlets when stringing up lights outdoors, as they are specifically designed to prevent too much electricity from flowing to your circuit—something which is more likely to happen with your outdoor lights given their exposure to the elements. You will be able to tell GFCI outlets apart from regular outlets by the test and reset buttons in the middle.
- Check for the Difference Between Indoor & Outdoor Lights: While most Christmas lights these days are extremely safe, there is a difference between indoor and outdoor lights. Most importantly, outdoor lights are always waterproof, while indoor lights may not be. Check for the difference when buying new Christmas lights this season, and if you are using old lights that have not been replaced forever, consider upgrading to a kind that you know are safe.
- Turn Your Lights Off Before Going to Bed at Night: This may sound like the most obvious piece of advice yet, but it is still important to emphasize. Your Christmas tree and exterior light display are surely very beautiful, and a great way to brighten up the interior and exterior of your property respectively. That said, no matter how beautiful these lights may be, it is always safer to turn them off before going to bed at night. Again, modern Christmas lights are very safe, but you never know what can happen overnight, and if an accident occurs, you could end up with some serious damage on your hands. You’ll still be able to enjoy your lights in the morning, but for the sake of your household’s safety and well-being, make sure your lights are always unplugged/turned off before you go to bed at night.