It’s that time of the year to outdo the neighbor’s decorations and put up enough lighting around your house to make Clark Griswold blush! Christmas decorations go as far back as the 1600s in Germany with the use of candles and became even more popular in the mid-1900s with the improvement of outdoor cables. But before you start on your merry way be sure to go through these safety tips first. Never plug in anything until you’ve followed these steps!

1. If you’re using lights you’ve dug out from storage, be sure to inspect the wiring for any frayed or damaged connections that may have occurred. The same should be done for any recently purchased lights due to factory defects. Check each socket as well and make sure there are no dents or damaged pieces.

2. Double-check the packaging to verify that your lights are suitable for outdoor use and can withstand the elements. Never attempt to mix-and-match between indoor/outdoor lighting. Match the power needs (amperage) of electrical products with amperage rating of extension cords. Also, do not put up your lighting if outside conditions are wet and slippery.

3. When dealing with children or pets, be sure any loose cords are safely hidden out of the way and won’t trip anyone.

4. For exterior lights, only plug in decorations to a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, or a plug that is on a GFCI-protected circuit. These outlets either need to be protected by an in-use cover, or under an eave out of the way of water or moisture.

5. Try to avoid pinching or penetrating any wires if you’re affixing them to the exterior of your home. If possible, use hooks or clips instead of staples.

6. Don’t be an energy hog! Instead of forgetting to turn the lights off, simply buy an outdoor electrical timer to reduce energy usage when you’re not home. This will also be useful if you plan to be on vacation for any period of time.  If you have a few spare bucks to invest, get some LED Christmas lights!

7. Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices! They can overheat and cause a fire.

8. Have fun and get creative! Once it’s time to bring the lights down, be sure to properly store your cables and bulbs so they’ll be ready for the next year!

9. Bask in the warm glow of your handiwork!

From all of us at Jackson Electric, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season! If you have any questions please contact us today!