The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that almost 15,000 people will be injured while holiday decorating this year, a statistic that continues to climb each year. The most common injuries reported stem from falls, either from ladders or roofs, as people install holiday lighting. Before you begin your decorating this holiday season, it is important to learn how to install holiday lights safely.
The first step in understanding how to put up Christmas lights safely is to understand the tools you need to complete the project. Tools that can make the project go easier include a drill, staple gun, ladder and hammer. Light clips and gutter hooks allow for easy installation and removal. Be sure to use extension cords designed for outdoor use. It is recommended that you choose LED holiday lights in order to keep energy costs down. Timers and remotes also make turning the lights on and off much easier.
Take inventory of the holiday lights you already have and what condition they are in. Check for cracked bulbs, frayed wires or other damage. Throw out any strings that have even minor damage as they present a fire risk. Test each string of lights to be sure it works properly. If you need to purchase new lights, check to be sure what you purchase is rated for outdoor use. Indoor lights are not protected from rain or snow which can lead to shorts or blown fuses. If you need to use extension cords, try to keep them at a minimum and only use those rated for outdoor use. If your ladder is not in good shape, you should purchase a new one that reaches at least six feet higher than the highest point of your lighting.
Once you have gathered your tools and purchased the lights you want for you home, it is time to begin decorating your home. Make sure your ladder is firm and fully open. It is highly recommended that you do not climb a ladder alone, but have a friend or family member assist you. Be sure you do not place the ladder in ice or water. The first step in how to put up Christmas lights safely is to install the gutter hooks. Do not carry both the hooks and the lights up the ladder. Instead, snap each hook onto the gutter and ask your assistant to hand you the lights to hang them. Take your time as rushing is what often leads to injury. Follow the same steps to install light clips to the roof. Many homeowners have stopped using nails or staple guns as they can damage the roof, but if you must use them, be sure to attach the nail or staple to fascia board.
Always unplug the lights when you are sleeping or are leaving the house. A timer is a great way to make sure the lights come on and go off regularly. If you notice a burnt bulb, be sure to replace it with the same wattage. Wires should never be run through doors, windows or high-traffic areas.
There is nothing more festive than a home brightly lit for the holidays, but if you don’t follow tips for how to put up Christmas lights safely, you may not enjoy your holiday due to an injury. If you need advice on how to install holiday lights, contact one of our experienced customer service representatives by phone or online today.