Christmas Light Safety Information from Your Kalamazoo Roofing Company, Sherriff-Goslin

This holiday season deck your halls to your heart’s delight — just make sure you do it the smart way. To help you stay safe when decorating your home and to avoid bumps, bruises or worse yet, a trip to the emergency room, your Kalamazoo roofing company, Sherriff-Goslin, has compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you and your family create a fun yet safe holiday light display, both inside and out!

Trimming the Tree

While tree lights are beautiful, they operate on electricity, which can potentially present problems. Before installing your Christmas lights, plug them in to make sure all the bulbs are working. To prevent shorts and fire hazards, check every strand and cord carefully. Look for cracked or broken sockets, frayed or bare wires, and loose connections. Replace burned out bulbs with similar bulbs of the same wattage.

When shopping, select lights that have been tested and deemed safe by a reputable testing laboratory, such as the UL (Underwriters Laboratories). Also, opt for the cooler-burning “mini” lights in lieu of the traditional bigger bulbs, which burn much hotter. Never pull or tug on a string of Christmas lights. Doing so stresses the cords and can lead to fraying. For the same reason, store Christmas lights loosely wrapped to preserve their lifespan.

Avoid hanging any lights on a metal tree or any holiday décor items made of metal. The metal item can become charged with electricity and shock someone. The metallic materials can also short out Christmas lights and cause a fire. Remember, don’t mix metal and electricity! Both indoors and outside, use extension cords properly. The larger and more insulated outdoor cords can be used interchangeably inside or out, while smaller indoor-only cords are meant strictly for interiors, not the yard.

Ladder Safety and Outside Lighting Tips

Decorating with lights often requires the use of a ladder, and improper use could lead to injury. Inside the house, be sure to supervise the kids so no accidents happen. Outside, let the older kids and adults handle all ladder activity.Want an outside holiday light display that’s the envy of the block? First and foremost, be sure to use outdoor Christmas lights — not lights intended for indoor use. The packaging will note whether the lights can be used indoors, outdoors, or both.

In your yard, keep ladders and humans away from power lines and feeder lines. The latter are wires that connect the main pole to your house. And never install lights on trees that come in contact with power lines. All outdoor electrical decorations should be plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). You can buy portable units to use outside, or you can have them permanently installed by an electrician. Don’t tack or nail outside light strands to your house, as you could pierce their protective wire coverings. Instead, secure outside Christmas lights with insulated holders or hang strings of lights with hooks.

Inside or Out, Always Unplug

When you leave your home or go to bed at night, turn off all Christmas lights, inside and out. This will ensure your home is safe from fire and other electrical issues. Follow these tips for a beautifully safe but stunning holiday light display!