Christmas is around the corner, and what better way to add a festive mood to your home or office than adding some lights? While you don’t need an electrician to install Christmas lights – unless you are going all out this year! – it is worth paying attention to how and where you put these decorations. Avoid damage to yourself and your property by practicing a few safety precautions while you decorate this year.
Replace or remove broken bulbs
Lights with broken bulbs can be dangerous! Electricity is still passing through the components of the light, which can lead to a shock, a fire or someone could get cut on a sharp edge. Some light strings will stop working completely if a bulb is broken, so you can save some money by replacing the broken parts.
When using older lights, check them for frayed cords. If you find any damaged cords, rather throw them away and buy new ones, as they could cause an electrical short.
Use the right Christmas lights
Sure, that little reindeer would look amazing on your lawn at night, but if it was made for indoor use only, you should only use these Christmas Lights indoors. Outdoor lights are marked and sold as outdoor products, and you probably want to make sure they are waterproof in case there is rain or dew in your area.
The same applies for the extension cord that your outdoor lights are connected to. If you can’t connect the lights directly to a power outlet and make sure that your extension cord is rated for outdoor use. Otherwise, they aren’t protected from wet environments.
Even with an outdoor-rated extension cord, make sure that the end of the cord isn’t sitting on the ground. Best to avoid any situation where they could end up in a puddle.
Practise cord safety
All of those lights and power cords should be secured so that nobody trips over them. Besides getting hurt, tripping over a cord could end up pulling your whole decoration down, along with whatever it was attached to!
Don’t use a window or door to run an extension cord or a string of lights. If the cord gets pinched, the insulation will get damaged and might expose live wires.
When using an extension cord for your lights, don’t overload them! While each little light doesn’t draw much power, they quickly add up as you add more light strings. Rather run another extension cord, or consider using fewer lights. Less is more, right?
If your lights are going to be installed in a high-up spot, then make sure you have a sturdy ladder for the job. You want to be able to reach the point you are installing lights without being on the top step, just balancing there! Rather get a taller ladder, so that you can work comfortably and safely as you connect or string up lights. If you can, use a wooden or fiberglass ladder, so there is less chance of an electrical shock!
When attaching the wires, don’t use metal clips, especially ones with sharp points! While it seems quicker to use staples or nails, you could damage a wire or touch an exposed wire, creating a circuit. Rather get plastic clips or insulated ones.
Using clips instead of nailing it in place will also make it easier to take down after the festive season! While your lights will look great, they aren’t designed for use over a prolonged period of time. Rather take them down, pack them up nicely and enjoy them again next year.
While Christmas lights symbolize a time of cheer and relaxation, electricity never stops being dangerous. Keep this in mind and ensure that your holiday isn’t interrupted by a short circuit or a trip to the hospital!
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