Holiday Lights: Dos and Don’ts

holiday lights

The holidays are less than four weeks away! Before you begin stringing holiday lights and hanging garland, there are a few dos and don’ts you should keep in mind, ensuring you don’t damage your roofing system in the process.

Do Inspect Holiday Light Sets

Carefully inspect previously used light strings and extension cords. Frayed or otherwise damaged electrical cords should be responsibly disposed of. There should also be no broken sockets or loose connections. The lights could short out and cause a fire. Additionally, any string lights or extension cords you plan to use outdoors must safely stand up to the elements; look for the UL-rating.

Don’t Use a Staple or Nail Gun

Fans of the holiday classic, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” will recall Clark Griswold (played by Chevy Chase) using his trusty staple gun to attach lights directly onto the roof. Not only was this dangerous, it was incredibly damaging to his roof! Stapling or nailing holiday lights into your shingles can damage them and ultimately cause a leak. Instead, use clips designed to securely fasten lights to shingles and gutters.

Do Use a Sturdy Ladder

Always use a good, sturdy ladder when installing your lights. It’s also a good idea to make sure someone is helping you with your display – one person on the ground to hold the ladder steady and the other hanging lights. Better yet, hang lights from the ground, and in less time than it took Clark with a pole that extends to help you hook the clip directly onto the gutter or shingle.

Don’t Overload Your Outlets

When Clark plugged in his lights, overloading the circuit, he took out most of Chicago –  leaving his neighbors in the dark. Unlike Clark, you probably won’t run this risk, but you can certainly pop some breakers and possibly create a fire hazard. Always use lights according to manufacturer instructions.

Do Purchase LED Holiday Lights

Incandescent holiday lights are terribly inefficient, and despite careful storage, often emerge damaged. LEDs, while a little more expensive, are a much better option. They use up to 75% less energy and last 25 times longer. Because they also produce very little heat, they are much safer to use for both indoor and outdoor lighting.

Don’t Leave Your Lights on Unattended

Don’t leave holiday lights on when you go to bed at night or when you leave the house. Should a problem develop, it’s essential for someone to react quickly, thus thwarting potential property damage or personal injury. Add a timer so you don’t have to worry about remembering to turn your lights on and off.

Do Properly Store Your Holiday Lights

At the end of the season, when you must put your lights back into storage, make sure to use cord holders to avoid a tangled mess. You can also make your own using leftover cardboard or empty paper towel rolls. It’s also a good idea to store them in a well-sealed container to prevent possible water or rodent damage.

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