Lighted pumpkins and other decorations in front of a home at night

How to Safely Use Light Decorations for the Holidays

Safely Decorate Your Home

Fall and winter are exciting times, especially around our community. Families decorate for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and more to get into the holiday spirit and share the festivities with neighbors.

However, when you put light displays all over your home, you need to make sure safety is top of mind. Lighting at these scales requires a lot of wires, connections, and electricity. Follow these tips to ensure your lights stay bright and your home stays safe.

Plug Into GFCI Outlets

No matter if it’s one lighting fixture or a home-covering display, all outdoor plugs should be connected through GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter, outlets. While GFCIs are required for newer homes, older homes may still be behind the curve.

GFCIs are equipped with a sensor to detect circuit faults and protect people from shock. They are most useful in areas where water is present.

Check your outdoor outlets (and kitchen and bathroom outlets while you’re at it) and upgrade to GFCIs if needed. You’ll know they’re GFCI outlets because they will have┬áTEST and RESET buttons in between the two connections.

Don’t Overload Circuits

For those that go all-out for holiday lights, it can be difficult to set a display up safely without the right circuit capacity. Try to spread out lighting connections evenly between outdoor outlets. If you’re piling on devices into one outlet, it can become a safety risk.

If you want to safely up your light display game, talk to our team about adding exterior outlets to your home.

Use Timers

Timers are a great way to ensure your lighting display turns off at night (or whenever you’d like). This prevents wasted energy and won’t present a risk while you’re asleep.

Timers can be either manual or digital. You can also install smart outlets that you can control from your phone and through other smart devices. This is a great modern way to control your outdoor lighting display with ease.

Wire Safety

Holiday lighting displays are riddled with wires, from string lights to extension cords and device plugs. Managing them safely and effectively will ensure your risk is reduced.

Try to keep wires away from walkways and high-traffic areas to avoid others tripping over the cords, especially if you have young children running around. You can use ties or other devices to keep wires attached to the ground. Also, keep wires away from water sources or features.

Only use insulated cords that are not frayed or broken. Don’t run wires through windows or doors, even if to reduce the load on exterior outlets. It’s safer to have an additional outlet installed.

Device Safety

When shopping for lights or fixtures to place outside, look for ones that contain LED bulbs. LEDs are energy-efficient and long-lasting, but they most importantly don’t emit heat during operation. This is a crucial safety feature when applying lights to flammable items like trees and bushes.

No matter what type of bulb you use, make sure the product you’ve bought is UL certified. And, they should be rated for outdoor use. Inspect lights and other displays for cracks and frayed wires. If you find any, replace the item immediately. Plug everything in before you put it outside so you can adequately inspect the lights for any issues.

There When You Need Us

Throughout the holiday season, leave the electrical work to the pros at Sylvester Electric, Inc.. Our experts are dedicated to making sure your home is safe and enjoyable, especially during the holidays. Contact our team today at (978) 910-0021 for more information on how we can help.