At Christmas, outdoor lights are part of the festive atmosphere. There’s no reason that you can’t enjoy colorful or bright lights on your home and around your yard and garden as long as you follow some basic safety tips to make sure you stay safe while putting them up, running them during the season and taking them down afterward. Many mishaps can be prevented by hanging them carefully and making sure that they’re the correct type of Christmas lights for your purposes.
Always avoid trying to hang Christmas outdoor lights when there is snow or ice on the ground. Get them up early before this kind of weather is supposed to come in. Even if you don’t try to do it during a snowstorm, any snow or ice that remains on the ground afterward can prove to be a hazard when it’s time to climb that ladder. Be sure that your ladder is up against the actual frame of the house and isn’t leaning on guttering. It’s also a good idea to have help when doing this to be on the safe side.
Make sure you use Christmas outdoor lights that are designed for use outdoors. While this should go without saying, some people don’t read carefully before they hang the lights. The box will typically say indoor/outdoor lights or just outdoor lights. These are lights that have been UL-rated to be safe for outdoor use. Using indoor lights outside can cause a host of problems like electrical shorts, fires and even risk of electric shock for anyone handling the lights.
Even though indoor/outdoor lights are typically end-to-end lights, no more than three strands should be hooked together and plugged into an extension cord for safety purposes. And when it comes to stringing lights on your home to outline your roof or windows, avoid using the large commercial bulbs. Choose mini-lights because they don’t get nearly as hot as the large bulbs. LED lights are the safest because they put out less heat than any other kind. The larger bulbs are a potential fire risk particularly if they come into contact with things like dry leaves or dry roofing materials.
Also, be sure to avoid nailing or stapling the lights in place. Anything that could damage the outer coating of the wires and break the actual wires inside can cause a potential short and fire risk. Use clips and hooks that are designed to hold outdoor Christmas lights for maximum safety.