‘Tis the season for decorating your home with lights…lots of lights. Lighting up the outside of your home for the holidays can be fun and beautiful but you also want it to be safe and free from frustration. If you have big ideas for a big outdoor light display but your electrical box can’t handle the extra load, you are setting yourself up for frustration and maybe even a fire! Following are a couple of tips to save you some headaches and hopefully make your holidays a little bit brighter.
Use LED lights. LED lights don’t produce as much heat as other lights so they are less likely to cause a fire. Additionally, LED lights are cool to the touch, so little fingers won’t get scorched if they touch the lights – and you know they will be touching the lights. LED lights are also more cost efficient to use as they don’t use as much energy as other lights. LED lights are also easier to store for next year and they are more durable, so you will be replacing them less often.
Don’t get too carried away. If you find yourself plugging too many cords into your outlet because you want your display to be the biggest on the block, you may need to bring it down a notch or two. Bigger isn’t always better. Opt instead for one or two quality displays or a single light to shine on an unlighted yard display. You may be happier with the results.
Don’t run the outdoor light cords in through the window or doors to plug in inside your home. Use an outdoor GFCI plug for outdoor lights. Also, use a timer to plug your lights into so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn them off and on. If you don’t have an outdoor GFCI plug, you can call Peter to install one for you.
Don’t use nails or screws to secure the lights to your house or deck railing. You may not know this but there are plastic clips that are made specifically for this purpose and they are not that expensive. If you are going to go through the trouble of putting up outdoor lights, take the extra time to purchase the right equipment to install them.
Purchase lights with the UL Safety Certification. Lights that have this certification symbol means that they have been designed and manufactured to meet certain safety requirements. If you own older lights that don’t have this certification, it might be time to retire them and purchase new ones that do have the certification.
As always, if you think you have an electrical issue, call Peter Needham. He knows how to fix any electrical issue. And, if you need more options for outdoor lighting, such as an outdoor plug, he can do that. Just give him a call.