Keeping Your Home Safe This Holiday Season
Holiday lights are a festive way to show seasonal cheer and add extra character to your home and neighborhood. From the simplest strands to the most complex and impressive designs, lights can be an incredibly fun experience for you and your family. And regardless of what lights you decide to decorate with, safety should come first. Stay safe and keep these tips in mind when decorating your home with holiday lights. Before installing any holiday decorations make sure to check your local HOA guidelines.
Use Certified Lights
Look for lights that include UL Safety Certification. Lights with this certification meet the industry specifications for safety set by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and offer safer use in and around your home.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Lights
When you buy new lights, the packaging will provide disclaimers about where the lights should be used. Some are exclusively for indoor or outdoor use, while others are safe to use anywhere around your home. Only use lights where you know they are safe to use.
Never use indoor lights outdoors. Using indoor lights outdoors will expose them to the elements, which may put you and your home at risk of fire and shortages. If you are using lights outdoors, make sure they are waterproof.
Consider LED Lights
LED lights with epoxy lenses are some of the safest to use around your home. These lights are cool to the touch, last longer, and don’t use as much electricity. This means they are safer and more cost effective than traditional incandescent lights, which can potentially overheat and are especially dangerous if wrapped around a tree.
Check Your Lights
Before hanging your lights, check the bulbs and cords for any cracks or exposed wires. If your lights aren’t in good condition, they may potentially start an electrical fire.
And before you go through the work of putting up all your lights, plug them in to make sure all the bulbs are working properly. This simple check may save you a lot of time and hassle later on.
Use a Ladder
Don’t climb onto your roof or use random objects like a chair or table to support yourself while putting up holiday lights. For your safety, use a ladder when hanging lights in places you can’t easily reach. And if you’re hanging lights around your gutters, have a spotter at the bottom of the ladder to keep it steady and secure. Don’t carry more than you can handle up the ladder; instead, have a helper that can hand you necessary items as needed.
Use a GFCI Outlet
Use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet if you’re plugging in your lights outdoors. This type of outlet prevents electric shocks from occurring due to the elements.
Keep Extension Cords Safe
Extension cords should be kept out of the way and taped down to avoid tripping hazards. If you are using an extension cord outside, make sure it is rated for outdoor use and keep it above the ground and any snow or water.
Hang Lights in Secure Places
If not properly fastened, lights can be blown out of place or pulled from their proper location. Place lights out of reach of small children and always secure to permanent objects like trees or a wall. And if you are hanging lights around your home, use outdoor light clips instead of nails or screws to make sure they remain secure in the wind and weather.
Stay Away from Power Lines
Do not hang holiday lights on trees or other objects that are touching or near power lines to avoid potential electrical hazards.
Don’t Run Lights through Windows or Doors
If you do not have an outdoor outlet, you can use an outdoor grade extension cord to connect to an indoor outlet. However, make sure not to let the lights run through any windows or doors. Doors and windows closing on the wires may cause them to fray, resulting in an electric fire hazard.
Turn Off Lights at Night
Keeping your lights on at all times increases the chances of your lights overheating, which may start an electric fire. Make sure to turn off your lights at night and if you’re ever away from home for an extended period of time. Use a timer to make sure your lights are turned off at the correct times.
Only Use Lights In-Season
Once the holiday season is over, safely take down your lights and other decorations. Many neighborhoods that belong to HOAs or municipalities have rules against holiday decorations remaining after the holiday season.
Store Lights Properly
Keep your lights in secure containers when not in use and place them in a dry, safe location. This will help prolong their lifespan and keep them in shape for the next holiday season.
Invitation Homes is the nation’s premiere home leasing company. For more tips about holiday decorations and seasonal home maintenance, visit our blog at invitationhomes.com, and search our exclusive listings for holiday friendly homes near you.