How do I safely install my outdoor holiday lights?

SYNOPSIS

Planning and preparation before you start hanging your holiday lights could save you hours of hassle in the end. This video will tell you everything you’ll need and everything you’ll need to consider on the way to a successful lighting display that could make your neighbors jealous of your skills.

TRANSCRIPT

Even if you’re not entering your neighborhood’s light contest, you may still want to hang a few lights during the holiday season.Check lights you already own before installing them to make sure there are no frayed ends or exposed wires. If there are, throw those strands away. Any exposed wire is a fire hazard and it’s better to pick up a replacement than risk a fire. Test your lights before heading to the store, too, so that you know how many replacement bulbs you need or if you need any fuses.When buying new lights make sure any strand you’re planning on using outside is marked “For Outdoor Use.” Trying to use interior lights on the exterior of your house is an easy way to blow a lot of fuses or start a fire.⇥Before you begin to hang your lights, you should have a plan. You should know how many lights you can string together. Older strands often don’t allow more than three strands at once, but contractor-grade or LED lights let you use many more strands together.Also, know how many extension cords you’ll need, and check to ensure they’re all three-pronged cords rated for outdoor use. Never use a cord with only two prongs because it does not have a ground and is not safe for use outside. And never plug them into any outlet other than a GFCI.GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. These outlets shut off power when they detect short circuits, which can minimize the chance of fire. Look for buttons on the outlets that say “test” and “reset.” They are sure signs you’re using a GFCI. And if you don’t have a GFCI, you can buy one that plugs into a regular outlet.To be sure you have adequate voltage, use a 12 gauge or 14 gauge extension cord.When you arrange your lights, don’t create a maze of plugs and outlets. And all of your outlets and timers should be easily accessible for easy adjustment or in case something goes wrong.If you’re using a ladder, it should be well-built and solid. Use an A-frame or an extra-large step ladder. Your ladder should extend at least six inches higher than the highest place you plan on hanging your lights. One last thing: don’t nail or staple your lights to your roof. You could easily damage your lights and your roof. There are a variety of clips that you can buy, including shingle tabs – which slide under your shingles – and gutter clips – which are molded to fit your gutters.If you have any questions, visit your local Westlake Hardware. We’re always here to help.

RELATED HELP CONTENT

Shopping List

  • Lights
  • Replacement Bulbs
  • Fuses
  • Extension Cords
  • GFCI Outlet
  • Timer
  • Ladder
  • Light Clips
  • Electrical Tape
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