How do I safely install my outdoor holiday lights?

How do I safely install my outdoor holiday lights?


Even if you’re not entering your neighborhood’s
light contest, you may still want to hang a few lights during the holiday season. Check lights you already own before installing
them to make sure there are no frayed ends or exposed wires. If there are, throw those
strands away. Any exposed wire is a fire hazard and it’s better to pick up a replacement
than risk a fire. Test your lights before heading to the store, too, so that you know
how many replacement bulbs you need or if you need any fuses. When buying new lights make sure any strand
you’re planning on using outside is marked “For Outdoor Use.” Trying to use interior
lights on the exterior of your house is an easy way to blow a lot of fuses or start a
fire. Before you begin to hang your lights, you
should have a plan. You should know how many lights you can string together. Older strands
often don’t allow more than three strands at once, but contractor-grade or LED lights
let you use many more strands together. Also, know how many extension cords you’ll
need, and check to ensure they’re all three-pronged cords rated for outdoor use. Never use a cord
with only two prongs because it does not have a ground and is not safe for use outside.
And never plug them into any outlet other than a GFCI. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.
These outlets shut off power when they detect short circuits, which can minimize the chance
of fire. Look for buttons on the outlets that say “test” and “reset.” They are sure
signs you’re using a GFCI. And if you don’t have a GFCI, you can buy one that plugs into
a regular outlet. To be sure you have adequate voltage, use
a 12 gauge or 14 gauge extension cord. When you arrange your lights, don’t create
a maze of plugs and outlets. And all of your outlets and timers should be easily accessible
for easy adjustment or in case something goes wrong. If you’re using a ladder, it should be well-built
and solid. Use an A-frame or an extra-large step ladder. Your ladder should extend at
least six inches higher than the highest place you plan on hanging your lights. One last thing: don’t nail or staple your
lights to your roof. You could easily damage your lights and your roof. There are a variety
of clips that you can buy, including shingle tabs – which slide under your shingles – and
gutter clips – which are molded to fit your gutters. If you have any questions, visit your local
Westlake Hardware. We’re always here to help.


2 thoughts on “How do I safely install my outdoor holiday lights?

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