The Dos and Don’ts of Christmas Lighting

There’s nothing quite like celebrating the festive seasons. Lights in particular are a wonderful way to add traditional reds and greens to both your indoor and outdoor lighting. Not to mention the more contemporary whites and blues of snow-themed lights. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re lighting up an inflatable Santa or casting dancing reindeer on your house’s siding, putting safety and efficiency first is a must. Embrace the festivities and brighten your holidays with these Christmas lighting dos and don’ts.

Christmas Lighting Dos 

To help keep your Christmas lights bright, safe, and affordable, follow these tips:

Do use materials rated for outdoor use. We can’t stress this enough. Using lights and cables that are rated for indoor use only can lead to injury and property damage. Instead, check that your lights, adapters, and extensions have been rated and approved for use outdoors by either Intertek (ETL Semko) or Underwriters Laboratory (UL).

Do inspect your supplies. At the start of the festive season, it’s important to thoroughly inspect all your decorations, bulbs, and extension cords for any defects or signs of wear. This includes burned-out bulbs, faulty connections, broken sockets, and frayed cables. 

Do plug your lights into grounded outlets. To keep you and your home safe, always plug your lights into GFCI-grounded outlets. 

Do check your bulb type. It’s important to know the difference between the two main types of lightbulbs: incandescent and LED. Knowing the difference will help you plan for what supplies you need and how you’ll install them. LEDs are also 75% more efficient than traditional incandescent light bulbs. 

Do use light clips. Don’t waste time and money with staples, nails, and screws, and don’t risk damaging your lights or your home. Use light clips as a safer, most cost-effective choice. 

Do think about your neighbors. There’s an unspoken etiquette for Christmas lights that’s important to follow to keep everyone happy and safe during the festive season. The most important points to consider are to make sure that your lights are shining into your neighbors’ homes and that they aren’t an obstruction to safe driving. 

Do put your lights on a timer. There’s nothing stopping you from running your lights all night but putting them on a timer means you won’t forget to turn them off when you want to. It also helps keep your electricity bill down.

Christmas Lighting Don’ts 

Don’t connect too many light strings together. Doing this can cause overheating and potentially a fire. Check with your manufacturer for guidelines on how many strings you can connect.

Don’t mix lightbulb types. Combining LEDs and incandescent bulbs in the same string poses a fire hazard as the LEDs will overheat.

Don’t hang your lights alone. Ladders are notorious for causing serious injuries, as are falls from heights. Don’t try hanging your lights on your own as you risk hurting yourself and damaging your decorations and lights.

Don’t overload your extensions and adapters. Adding too many cords, splitters, and adapters can overload them or your outlets. Always make sure that you’re not putting too much demand on any power source. 

Don’t store your lights improperly. At the end of your season, make sure to store your lights and decorations in a clean, dry place, and don’t let the cords get tangled.

Celebrating with CMC

At Coastal Mechanical Contractors, your safety is our priority. Celebrating Christmas with lights and decorations is a time-honored tradition and one that we enjoy. We’re also here to help with your electrical needs this festive season. Contact us or call us today at (985) 876-6187 for more information. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season!

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