Guide to Christmas Light Installation
December, 15th, 2020
Christmas is just around the corner, meaning it’s about time to start hanging your Christmas lights! These add sparkle and warmth to the season, but they can also increase the risk of fires and injuries if not used safely.
It’s vital that you keep safety at the forefront while hanging and installing this year’s lights to avoid a disaster. Read on to learn how to hang Christmas lights outside safely!
Christmas Light Safety
The first step to take is to make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s directions for installation; read the instructions carefully, even if the process seems simple. Before installing your lighting, look at each string of lights. If you see any frayed or damaged wires, you need to purchase a new set of lights to avoid a fire hazard. After inspecting the lights, plug them in before you start hanging them so you can replace any burnt out bulbs.
Take precautions while installing exterior lighting
- Use a high quality ladder. Make sure that you are using a high-quality safety ladder while installing Christmas lights. If you are using a stepladder, do not sit or stand on the last two steps. For extension ladders, use the 4 to 1 rule, meaning that for every 4 feet in height, the ladder should be pulled out 1 foot from the wall or edge, and never over-extend your ladders. You can also reduce your risk of electric shock by using a ladder made of non-conductive materials, such as wood or reinforced plastic.
- Don’t damage the cord. When hanging or mounting your Christmas lights, do it carefully to prevent damage to the cord. Use the specially designed plastic hooks or clips to avoid damage to the cord and your walls. When attaching your lights to gutters, you can use an all-purpose light clip, and be sure to hang them all in the same direction.
- Watch out for lights and power lines. Avoid hanging lights on trees that come in contact or are nearby power lights. Don’t install your lights on trees that come into contact with power lines.
- Use the appropriate outlet. Your outdoor lights should always be plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, which will prevent a shock as in the case of an overcurrent and the circuit will be shut down. If you do not have a GFCI outlet, you can call a qualified electrician to install a permanent one, or you can purchase a portable unit from your local electronics or home store.
Always check that your extension cords are UL approved and specifically rated for outdoor use, and keep the connections away from snow and water. Use the correct length and do not overload them. Before installing, check the wattage rating of the extension cord and the power requirements of the lights to make sure they are compatible. Doing this will avoid overheating and fire.
Never use indoor lights outdoors, as this is a significant safety hazard. Always use waterproof or water-resistant lights when installing outdoor Christmas lights. If you’re not sure whether your lights are safe for outdoor use, check the color of the UL mark on the product’s package. If it’s red, it means that the lights are safe for both indoor and outdoor use.
Electrical Pros in Weatherford
If you have any questions about installing Christmas lights this season, give us a call at Lightfoot Mechanical! Our electricians are standing by to help!