When it comes to making your space feel festive for the holidays, lights and other decorations are the perfect way to bring some holiday cheer to both the inside and outside of your home.
But as beautiful as they are, these decorations often come with an increased risk of fire — especially outdoor lighting and decor. But with a little knowledge and preparation, you can keep your home feeling festive and safe this year.
10 Safety Strategies for Outdoor Holiday Displays
- Test your smoke alarms and replace batteries: Even though we’re talking about outdoor holiday displays in this post, your home’s smoke alarms are still a crucial part of protecting your home and your family’s safety. Make sure they’re working properly before you begin decorating
- Use the right kind of holiday lights: Ensure your outdoor decorations are labeled specifically for outdoor use. A red UL Listed label means that your holiday lights have been tested for rain, high humidity, and other outdoor situations. If your holiday lights have a green UL Listed label, it means that your holiday lights are suitable for indoor use only.
- Check lights and decor for damage: Before putting up any lights and decor, double check the wires for frays or cracks, and with string lights, be sure there is a bulb in each socket. Do not use damaged strands, as they’re more likely to cause an electrical fire.
- Use the right kind of extension cords: Use heavy-duty extension cords that are specifically designated for outdoor use. Additionally, avoid overloading extension cords by using no more than three sets of standard lights per cord.
- Watch your wires: Strategically lay your wires and cords low-traffic areas where they won’t be walked on or tripped over. Avoid twisting, kinking or crushing them.
- Use insulated hooks or nails: Metal hooks and nails can act as conduits for electricity, so make sure they are insulated to decrease the risk of fire.
- Watch your ladder: When putting up your outdoor holiday displays, keep ladders and decorations away from overhead power lines. As always, ensure the ladder is securely placed on the ground before climbing.
- Use the right kind of ladder: Yes, there is a right kind of ladder for this. Metal ladders conduct electricity, so opt for a wooden or fiberglass ladder when putting up electrical décor and lights instead.
- Use circuits protected by GFCIs: Outdoor lights and inflatable decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). GFCIs help prevent electric shock by breaking the circuit when differences in the currents of hot and neutral wires occur.
- Set an automatic timer: Use a timer or turn off lights before going to bed, or if you will be away from home.
Looking for a professional recommendation regarding the best landscape lighting for your outdoor space? Contact McDonough Landscaping! We’ll help you light up your winter landscape in a way that’s both beautiful and safe, so you can spend less time worrying about your outdoor holiday displays and more time enjoying the joys of the season.