The holiday season is here. People are decorating their homes with sparkling lights that add so much sparkle to the night view.
That also means pulling out ladders, hanging lights, and connecting a growing web of extension cords.
Before you end up experiencing something like Clark Griswold’s exterior holiday lighting nightmare, follow a few safety tips.
Strings of lights
• Use only lights that are certified for use outdoors.
• Check the connection, sockets, and plugs. Never use a string of lights with cracked sockets or exposed wires.
• Hang the light strings on hooks. Don’t staple or nail them, which can damage the protective insulation.
• Use LED lights instead of incandescent. They use less electricity, last longer, and run cooler.
• Use only those cords that are certified by an independent testing lab (like UL).
• Choose a cord that is long enough, rather than connecting multiple cords.
• Do not staple or nail the extension cord because it can damage the insulation that protects the wiring.
• If you’re using the extension cord outdoors, make sure it’s approved for that use.
• Inspect any cord (new or used) before plugging it in, checking for fraying, cracks, or exposed wire.
• Make sure the amperage of the extension cord is compatible with the amperage of your lights.
• Do not use a metal ladder when hanging lights outdoors, because metal conducts electricity. Choose a fiberglass or wooden ladder instead.
• Stay at least 10 feet away from any power lines.
• Plug into ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). If your outlets are not GFCI, add a portable outdoor GFCI to handle your outdoor electrical needs.
• Do not overload your electrical outlets. The increased electricity can cause overheating, which leads to an electrical fire.
From gentle twinkling to a bright display, use caution with your exterior lighting so you can enjoy a safe holiday!