There’s a lot of safety precautions that go into the holidays. We have to be careful with how we cook our turkeys, that we put out candles in the house, that appliances are running smoothly. But one area many people may forget is the safety of string lights on the outside of your house. There are some common issues that you may not even realize you have going in your light set up.
1. Extension cords
Did you know that not all extension cords are created equal? Using extension cords to get all your lights properly working during the holiday is common but you need to make sure you’re using the right one. Check to make sure your cords are marked for proper use and you’re using them accordingly. Your cords will say “outdoor use only” or “indoor use only” depending on their designation and it’s very important to follow those instructions to avoid surges and even fires. Talk to a pro!
2. Ground fault circuit interrupters
You’ve seen this type of outlet in your home plenty of times. They’re common in the kitchen and bathroom and anywhere else you’ll have heavy-duty appliances or heat-generating appliances in your home. These outlets are designed to shut down power in the event of a ground fault in as short of a time as 1/40th of a second. You need to plug your outdoor electrical lights into a GFCI outlet to protect your home from a power failure. Talk to a pro!
While you may not have many outlet options outside, you shouldn’t overload any single outlet with cords. Even using a surge protector may not protect the outlet from overheating or overloading. The result of both of those events could be a fire. Properly disperse your outlet usage. Talk to a pro!
4. Be mindful of power lines
Maybe you’ve got a beautiful tree in your yard that you like to string up with lights every year. But you need to keep in mind how close that tree, or any decoration in your yard, is to a nearby power line. For safety, you want to keep 10 feet between your lights and decorations and the nearest power line. Talk to a pro!
5. Turn off lights
While it’s tempting to leave your handiwork of lights and decorations on at night while you’re out or going to sleep, it’s dangerous to leave the lights on while unattended, especially if you’re guilty of any of the safety snafus above. Turn those lights off when you’re not home or going to bed for the night. Talk to a pro!
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