DIY holiday lighting installation is common. You want your property to look great, and this might include hanging lights off of your gutters or shingles, adding lighted decorations on the lawn, and more. There are quite a few lighting and electrical tips to follow in order to stay safe and avoid electrical issues, such as fires or blown fuses.
Use the Proper Outdoor Lighting
When you decide you’re going to decorate the outside with holiday lights, there are some important tips to follow. This includes:
- Ensuring all lighting is designated as “outdoor use”
- Have sufficient access to electrical outlets
- Use “outdoor use” extension cords when necessary
Stringing multiple light sets together is common, and will also make it easier to hang them, such as down the length of your fence or along the edge of your roofing line. On the box, or within the instructions of the lighting you purchase, there is generally a recommendation on the lighting capacity. This will let you know how many sets of lights you can plug together without any electrical issue.
You should also look for the UL label on the decorations. This shows that they have been tested for safety.
It’s important to conduct a bulb check on everything that you’re going to plug in. This means strings of lights as well as lighted lawn decorations. If there are cracked bulbs, replace them. If there is a missing bulb, be sure to get one in place, even if it lights without it. This will ensure you don’t experience any kind of short circuit, especially if water gets to it.
Always conduct the bulb check when the lights are off AND unplugged.
Avoid a Circuit Overload
You don’t want to experience a circuit overload because that’s when the circuit breaker trips and you have to take a trip to the breaker box. It’s extremely common around the holidays because of using too many extension cords and adding in string after string of lights.
Look at the amps rating on your circuit breakers. Then take a look at what you’re plugging in. It’s important to do the math – and if you’re not sure what you have or how much power you’re using, it might be time to call in a licensed electrician.
Cabling and Wiring
All of your cords should be in good condition. If you see any exposed wire, you can wrap electrical tape around the problem area. If there is extensive damage on the cord, it’s best to throw the cord away and get a new one. Remember, when you’re dealing with the dry desert heat of the Las Vegas area, fires are easier to start. The last thing you want is for wires to cause a fire in your landscaping or even in your home. If you’re going to hang lights and need cords and cables to hang down, avoid nailing or stapling directly into them. Instead, use plastic clips.
Use GFCI Circuits
The circuits you use for plugging in inflatables and other lawn ornaments should be designated as GFCI, which are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters. These are going to help prevent electric shock because the circuit will break when there is an excessive change in current.
When you’re concerned about the safety of your holiday lighting, call Penny Electric today and get the help of a licensed electrician.