’Tis the season for holiday decorations! All around the area, homeowners are collecting the lights, inflatables, garlands, and trees from their attics. As you begin to string up the lights along your roof, be sure to follow these ten outdoor decorating safety tips.
Double Check Lights and Cords
Before you go through the trouble of climbing a ladder to put lights on the roof, check everything and check again. Look for bad bulbs. Look especially for frayed, cracked, or split wires. These issues can create serious electrocution problems for the decorator and fire problems for the house.
Work as a Team
If you can, work someone else. A second (or third) set of hands will lessen the need for climbing up and down. Fewer trips on the ladder means fewer opportunities for climbing disasters. Another decorator can hold the lights and/or the ladder for safety.
To avoid dangerous reaching, ladders should extend a couple of feet beyond the working area. Always place ladder legs on firm and level ground. Use levelers to insure a flat base. Have your partner decorator hold the ladder to prevent slipping or swaying.
Plug into GFCIs
Outdoor decorations should be plugged into ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). Any problems with the wires will trip the GFCI and will help to prevent electrical fires.
Use Properly Rated Cords
Use only extension cords that have been rated for outdoor use. These cords plugged into a GFCI are quite safe.
Limit the Strings
Pay attention to the number of string sets plugged into any outlet. A good rule of thumb is to limit each to no more than three individual strings.
Be Aware of Power
As you decorate your roof, be aware of power lines and such. Avoid physical contact with these junction points, and don’t place lights or other decorations too close.
To best protect your roof, siding, and gutters, use specialized hooks and clasps that will not cause damage. Never put a hole in a shingle. With a wide range of products, you’ll be able to find the one that works best with your home’s roof.
Power Down with Timers
Use an outdoor rated timer to shut off the lights, inflatables, and other decorations. Lights should be off when no one is around to check on them.
Check Again When Taking Down
To make next year’s outdoor decorating safety that much easier, check all the lights and wires as you put them away. You might even take advantage of post-holiday sales to replace any worn out or damaged decorations.