Homeowner's Academy

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Let There Be Light! Avoiding Holiday Light Catastrophes

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Dec 09, 2014

ChristmasLights-e1418050118617-294x300Nothing says “holiday cheer” like twinkling lights illuminating the front yards of neighborhoods across Florida.

Whether you’re wrapping them around a Christmas tree or decking your house out with them, holiday lights are a great way to transform your home into a festive winter wonderland.

Watch out though… installing and operating holiday lights can sometimes be quite difficult, stressful, and in some cases, even dangerous.

Make sure your holiday light installation goes smoothly by reading the following eight tips:

1. Look for Misfit Lights

While pleasing to the eyes, holiday lights also require watchful eyes and a bit of upkeep in order to ensure their safety and effectiveness. 

Inspect for broken sockets and frayed wires, and replace broken bulbs as soon as possible to reduce the risk of them igniting a fire.

2. Choose Wisely

Holiday lights aren’t always a one-light-fits-all solution. Some are designed for indoor use, while others are designed for outdoor use. Find out whether your lights are designed for indoor or outdoor purposes, and hang them accordingly.

While you’re out shopping for holiday lights, be on the lookout for lab-endorsed lights, especially those with the UL or ETL seal of approval.

lightclip13. Opt for Light Clips


While it may seem easier to hang up holiday lights with tacks, nails or screws lying around the house, this method may turn your lights into an electrical hazard. The sharp edges are prone to penetrating the cable, which will turn your pretty lights into a string of danger.

Image via walmart.com

Purchase light clips instead. They can be found online or at your local home improvement store.

4. Choose the Right Source of Power


gfci_outletWhen plugging in holiday lights, use a power source from a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. This outlet will shut the circuit down if it detects an overcurrent, which will prevent sparks and electrical mishaps.

If you don’t have a GFCI outlet, you can either hire an electrician to install one or purchase a portable outdoor unit from your local home improvement store for about $20.

5. Take Caution When Using a Ladder 

Installing outdoor lights? Use a sturdy ladder that is the proper height so you don’t have to bend down or reach up to hang lights. To prevent falls, make sure the ladder is securely positioned and move as needed to reduce leaning.

For more ladder safety tips, click here.

6. Make It a Family Affair

When it comes to putting up holiday lights, the more really is the merrier! Hanging up holiday lights can be a daunting task, especially when stringing them in high, hard-to-reach places.

This holiday season, recruit family and friends to assist in hanging up holiday lights. Not only will this allow you to share a holiday pastime with loved ones, but it will also provide you the proper support and teamwork required for safe installation.

7. Lights Out…

Before going to bed or leaving your home, unplug or turn off any holiday lights you may have on in your home. Doing so not only saves you money that can go toward stocking stuffers for family and friends, but it also reduces the risk of any light-related holiday mishaps. 

8. Protect the Life of Your Lights

Protect the life of your holiday lights for next year by placing them in a sealed container before storing them away. This will prevent possible water damage from summer rain that may leak into your attic and will deter pesky, hungry rodents from taking a bite out of them.