The time has changed, the sun goes down earlier, and people need something to spark their lives. Thankfully it is that season when bright lights can adorn many a rooftop, causing the streets to feel both merry and bright. So long gloomy December and January, and hello, twinkling roofs! To fully enjoy your sparkling holiday light displays, it is essential to ensure they are installed correctly. Lights that have been installed improperly even have the potential to cause lasting damage to the electrical system in your home.
Before climbing “up on the housetop” with your box of shiny lights, go over this list of holiday dos and don’ts. In no time, you’ll be able to hang your holiday strands safely. Hot Shot Electric wants your holiday season to be safe and festive and is just the company to help. Whether you have electrical concerns or holiday lighting questions, we can help!
Dos for Hanging Holiday Lights
First, examining your lights while still on the ground is vital. Before climbing that ladder, test the strands of lights. If you find any cracked lighting sets or have broken sockets, make sure you return them or throw them away. You will also want to be careful of frayed or bare wires. Lights that hang can even be flammable if they have electrical wiring damage. Be careful and check them out before you hang them up!
It is also important to use verified lighting and tested outdoor outlets to support your electrical wiring. UL (Underwriters Laboratory) and ETL Semko (Intertek) can test and verify your lights. Only use lights that these companies have approved for outdoor use. Approved lights will have safety ratings clearly marked on the packaging and electrical cord. Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are safety outlets that cut the power off if electricity comes into water contact. Since that can often happen outside, using GFCI units for your outdoor plugs is imperative.
When choosing your bulbs, use LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs. Did you know that LED lights are around 75% more efficient than conventional lights? LEDs are a great way to save money and use electricity more efficiently.
Finally, ask for help! Lights that haven’t been properly installed can damage your home. The installation process of outdoor lights can even be dangerous! From steep roofs to ladder climbing, many hazards can take place. If you have electrical concerns or need help, call the trusted professionals at Hot Shot Electric!
Don’ts for Hanging Holiday Lights
The first thing to avoid when hanging holiday lights is using the same outlet or extension cord for many lights. Most of the time, a standard circuit breaker can handle 15 amps of current. Although light stands only use a few milliamps each, the combination of too many strings together can quickly overdraw power. If this occurs, severe damage to your electrical wiring. It can even impact how bright your lights shine!
You should also never use staples, tacks, or nails when hanging lights. Although many people try this approach, they shouldn’t as it damages electrical wiring. Commonly, holiday light strings have some exposed wiring, but adding metal fasteners can create a circuit that might set your home on fire when it generates heat. Electrocution hazards can also occur if metal objects (such as tacks, nails, or staples) come into contact with other metal parts of your home when there is a current. Insulated holders and plastic roof clips are a great way to avoid these issues with your outside lights.
Finally, be sure that you do not connect LED lights to incandescent lights. Incandescent lights take more powerful current than LEDs, so connecting them can overload and fry LED light strands. Instead, be sure to keep your holiday lights separated by type. Each type should run to a different outlet, so your electrical wiring doesn’t spark and fry.