With the holidays approaching, safety around the home becomes even more important. As you put your decorations up this year, take a few minutes and take proper safety precautions.
- Only use outdoor lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory and are certified for outdoor use.
- Plug lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be bought from electrical supply stores and installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician.
- Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections and throw out damaged sets. And always replace burned-out bulbs with the same wattage bulbs.
- Before decorating, check your electric and extension cords for wear. And make sure the cords are designed for outdoor use.
- Uncoil extension cords fully before you use them. Also, make sure the extension cord matches the amperage that is needed.
- Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks when hanging lights.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to form supports to protect them from wind damage.
- Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord, unless you are using energy-efficient LED light strings.