It’s that time of the year. Christmas lights make the holidays festive and bright, but they come with their own safety and fire risks. Follow some important safety and energy-saving tips and have a happy holiday season with your family, neighbors and friends.
Before you hang outdoor Christmas lights, decide what you're going to work on first and gather everything together. This is where having a helper comes in handy. Start with bushes, then trees, any windows, the doors and finally the roofline.
Decide on the type of lights that work best and most efficient. Light-emitting diode, or LED, Christmas tree lights emit a bright, vibrant light that uses 80 percent less energy than conventional tree lights. They are also longer-lasting and stay cooler than traditional bulbs because they don't have a filament.
Another option is energy-saving bulbs that use around a quarter of the electricity of standard bulbs and last up to 12 times longer. When you shop, look for government and industry-approved energy-saving logos to find the most energy-efficient products in either option in addition to rebates.
When hanging lights, make sure you have firm support and never use tacks, staples, or nails. Instead, use plastic clips and insulated holders.
Make sure your holiday lights are secure enough to withstand heavy winds and that you use UL approved extension cords specific for outdoor use and look for lights rated for indoor/outdoor use.
Do not allow plugs and cords to sit in puddles and snow.
Use a non-conducting fiberglass or wooden ladder when working with strings of lights, and stay clear of all overhead wires.
Never let light bulbs touch flammable materials such as plastic or dry grass and leaves.
You will probably not run into the same problems that Griswold had to deal with, like stapling your cuff to your house and nearly falling off a tall ladder, but following safety guidelines can make sure you and your family stay safe and get to enjoy this time with those you care about.