9 Tips for Safe Installation of Your Holiday Lights

The holiday season is drawing ever nearer and soon the streets will be lined with festively lit houses. Whether you’re vying for the best display in town or setting up a few modest strands of holiday lights inside, we want you to be safe. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of nine important tips to maintaining a beautiful and safe holiday light display.
 
1. Check strands for broken plugs, frayed insulation and bare wires.
While trying to make sense of the tangled mess of last year’s holiday lights, use the opportunity to inspect each strand. Worn strings of lights start fires – throw them out!
 
2. If stringing lights outdoors, make sure they are rated for outdoors.
Never use indoor rated lights outside. The wires and insulation are not made to hold up in outside weather conditions. Likewise, it is a good idea to use indoor lights indoors because outdoor rated lights sometimes run hotter.
 
3. Don’t string too many strands together. 
Check the labeling on the lights and make sure you aren’t placing too many strands of holiday lights in a row. If you are following the manufacturer’s suggestions but still tripping your circuit breaker, you may have wiring or circuitry problems – contact an electrician.
 
4. Use a surge protector with GFCI protection.
A surge protector with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) will help prevent the risk of electric shock that can result when a the wires come in contact with water.
 
5. Replace broken bulbs.
Bulbs can break while being taken down, taken out of storage or being installed. Reduce your chance of fire by replacing broken bulbs immediately. When replacing bulbs, unplug the strand and make sure the replacement bulb is the same wattage as the original.
 
6. Handle, install and maintain holiday electrical displays only in dry weather.
It should go without saying, but water and electricity don’t mix. Water conducts electricity; stay safe and only handle your outdoor holiday lights when the weather permits.
 
7. Maintain a 10-foot distance from overhead power lines.
Before setting up your ladder or reaching overhead, make sure you are at least 10 feet from any power lines. Don’t install lights in trees that are touching or within 10 feet of power lines, either.
 
8. Don’t run holiday lights around sharp corners or under rugs.
Sharp corners can kink the wires. Strands underneath rugs can overheat or become worn. Both situations can cause fire. Also, keep lights away from walkways, where people are likely to trip on them.
 
9. Turn off holiday lights when away and before going to bed.
Don’t leave your electrical holiday light display unattended while you are away from home or sleeping. Installing timers for your lights can avoid the chance of leaving the lights on by mistake.
 
This holiday season keep your holiday light display safe by following these safety tips and all manufacturers’ guidelines.
 
Contact Mister Sparky for all of your electrical needs and questions. Or, for additional safety tips, ask our experts

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