Outdoor Christmas Light Safety 101

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Outdoor Christmas Light Safety 101

Photo Credit: Allison Lemons. WIBC. 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as the lights are officially going up around the neighborhood! Hanging lights, especially outside can become dangerous. To avoid any mishaps or “Clark Griswold” moments here is a few safety tips to be aware of. 

 

Don’t overload your circuit 

If you choose to go old school with C7 or C9 bulbs make sure you pay attention to how many are connected together. The main issue using these is you can only connect a certain amount of sets together before it gets overloaded. Keep in mind though, you can put more along the house you’ll just need to put them directly on the circuit as oppose to linking them together continuously. To do that, just run separate extension cords through the area then plug into the circuit. 

 

If you aren’t a fan of using several separate extension cords, LED lights or “rice” lights may be the way to go. For LED you can load several strands together without the hassle of dealing with separate circuits. 

 

Most importantly, with any hanging of lights be sure they are “for outdoor use” and never connect more than the recommended number of light strings. 

 

GFCI

Whether you go old school or the simple LED lights we highly recommend a ground fault circuit interrupter, GFCI. This portable outlet will shut off the circuit if there is an overcurrent, in other words prevent sparks from flying.  The outlet power source is fairly cheap, just be sure to get units that are covered for outdoor use. 

 

Extension Cord Safety

Only use extension cords with three-pronged plugs and also double check they are marked “for outdoor use.” This makes a huge difference, especially with when Indiana weather is involved. 

 

Keep extension cords off sidewalks and paths so others won’t trip. We’ve all done this, but it’s nice to try and prevent the occasional fall. If you are in a section where that may not be possible secure cords with a dedicated protector or tape down the cords along the sidewalk with waterproof tape. 

 

Additional Things 

For some general safety measures, here are some other safety tips to keep in mind when hanging up lights this year. 

 

Check your lights BEFORE you start hanging. Avoid the annoyance of finishing up the lights only to find they no longer work by checking them out before you step foot on a ladder. Especially if the lights you are using are from years past. Wires can become frayed from weather and storage. 

 

NEVER use tacks or nails to put the lights in place. Use insulated holders or designated all-purpose light clips. They hold up any kind of strand and won’t damage the lights or you! 

 

Avoid putting any lights on trees or other areas that are in contact with power lines. It seems obvious, but sometimes it’s good to have a reminder. 

 

And lastly, like any outdoor projects we like to remind everyone to be safe when using a ladder or on the roof! Make sure you pay attention to your footing, that the ladder is fully on the ground, and it never hurts to have an extra hand. 

 

Happy lighting! 

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