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Five Tips on Installing Your Own Christmas Lights

Posted on December 6th, 2016

Christmas Lights

The Christmas holiday isn’t without the sight of the festive lights illuminating the trees or the neighborhood houses, but, it can be a daunting task for first-timers looking to showcase their decorative spirit. We’ve compiled five tips to help ease your anxiety and to get you started.

Use a Proper Outlet

Safety is always a priority!  The source of power should come from a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet.  The GFCI outlet is designed to automatically shut off electric power when it detects that the current is flowing through an unintended path, such as water or a person.  It’s also important to check your outdoor sockets for water and debris before plugging in your lights.  We don’t want sparks along with our lights!

Extension Cord Safety

Extension cords can overheat, especially older models.  After plugging in your lights, do a simple touch-test on the cord – if it’s hot, unplug it and find a replacement.  Now that you’ve made sure your cord is safe for use, use things such as rocks or bricks to elevate the cord connections.  You don’t want snow, water, or debris to find its way into your connections.  It would be a big hassle to replace an extension cord after your lights have been put up!

No Nails or Metals

It might be a cheaper option to use nails or screws to hang your lights, however it is also much more dangerous.  They not only conduct electricity from their metal properties, but can also cut the cable for your lights.  Instead, we recommend using insulated hooks, which will keep you and your lights safe for the holidays.

Indoor vs Outdoor Lights

Not all lights are created equal. Although all lights must pass tests in both indoor and outdoor environments, indoor lights often have thinner insulation and could become an electricity hazard in high-moisture conditions. Conversely, outdoor lights used indoors may become a fire hazard because they often run hotter than standard indoor lights.   If you decide to decorate with lights from the years before, the tag near the plug should tell you what type they are.  If you are unable to verify the type, then don’t use them.

Know Your Limits

You can’t put in more water than your cup can hold.  This can be said the same for how many lights you can use for your outlet (the outlet being the cup in this analogy).  Find out what your maximum wattage is by checking the number of amps for your particular outlet.  Multiply the number of amps by 120, and the resulting number will be your maximum wattage.  Now add together the power usage for all lights and make sure it’s below your calculated maximum.  Happy lighting!

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