Outdoor Holiday Lights Electrical Safety

outdoor lights

Outdoor Holiday Lights Electrical Safety

It is that time of year again where you can dazzle the neighborhood with your fantastical holiday light display! Sadly, with the increase in holiday cheer also comes an increase in residential fires due to improper electrical safety set up. Whether you are putting up Santa’s entire crew of elves and reindeer on the roof or you just doing some simple icicle lights, we want to help you stay safe this holiday season.

Check for Repairs

Before you start stringing up lights and other outdoor décor, do a thorough examination of your decorations. Make sure that nothing is broken, missing, twisted, or frayed. If it is possible to repair it, make sure everything is unplugged. If not, buy new.

Purchase UL Decorations

When purchasing new decorations and extension cords, make sure to ONLY purchase UL-listed items. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a nationally recognized product safety certification organization that tests items. You want to make sure that you have top-rated decorations to keep you and your family safe.

Plus, ensure that your UL item is rated for outdoor use. It will have a red UL mark to indicate that it is safe for BOTH inside and outside use.

In addition, make sure to buy heavy-duty extension cords that can take a beating no matter what the weather. It is better to spend a little extra cash to get a quality cord that will last for years than a cheap one that is unsafe and will constantly need to be replaced.

Don’t Use a Metal Ladder

It is time to start putting up the decorations! YAY! Take a good look at your ladder if you will be on it while putting up lights. Metal ladders conduct electricity, increasing your chances of getting shocked. We suggest using a non-metal ladder (like wood or fiberglass) if you are going to be on the ladder as your hang lights.

Use Light Clips

NEVER drive a nail through your light cords! When you hang your lights, make sure to use quality light clips. Yes, there are cheap ones that will likely break before the month is over. However, we suggest that you use quality clips that will last for years as well as have a better grip on your lights.

Use GFCI Outlets

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets are specially designed to prevent electrical shock. They are typically used anywhere that there could be moisture, like bathrooms and kitchens. With there being a good chance that your holiday light will get wet with snow and rain, make sure you are plugging into a GFCI outlet.

Turn it Off

Lastly, do not have your lights running 24/7. Not only is this a waste of electricity, but it can also overload your system and increase your chances of an electrical malfunction. Only have the lights on when you are using them. Be sure to turn them off when you leave the house and while you sleep. We also suggest turning them off during the day, because you won’t be able to see them anyway!


Do you have any electrical concerns? Give us a call today for an electrical inspection!

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