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How to Test Outdoor Christmas Lights

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When hanging outdoor Christmas lights, you will want to be as safe as possible. During the wintertime, it is very likely that it will rain or snow, and having a string of electricity draped outdoors can be a hazard if you aren’t careful. There are many things you can do to ensure that your lights are in the safest place and position on your home, as well as ways to ensure that you are safe while putting them up or testing them. Below are some tips to keep in mind while working with outdoor Christmas lights.

Use a safe ladder to hang lights—when you are putting the lights out, testing them, or taking them down, it is important that you are safe while climbing to high areas. It is best to have someone at the base of the ladder to hold it and to hand you any tools or the lights when you need them, as well. This can keep you from having to go up and down many times, increasing your risk of tripping and falling. This also keeps you from reaching far for tools or lights you may need.

Use the proper extension cord—you should always use a heavy duty extension cord that is made for outdoor use. Since it will be outside and exposed to wet conditions, you want to make sure that it will be safe.

Use the correct lights—you should always use lights that are intended for use outdoors. The lights that can safely be used outside are ones that either say “for outdoor use” or “for indoor/outdoor use.” Never use lights outside that say they are for indoor use only. These are not made to withstand weather conditions, and could pose a hazard to you and your home.

Remember that electricity and water don’t mix—there are a couple of ways to be safe while having electricity outdoors. You should always face bulbs downward, so that the socket is not easily accessible by rain or snow. If you have an eve on your home, you can place the bulbs underneath or behind it so that you lower the risk of exposure to moisture even more. If you do this, you should still keep the bulbs pointing down as an added measure of safety. If you are using the correct extension cord, you will not have to worry about it getting wet, but you will have to be concerned with any electrical connections being dry. Any sockets or plugs should be kept out of puddles or snow. You should not let any connections rest in a low-lying area, because these could become a puddle without your knowledge, posing a risk.

Test lights—if you are using lights that have been used before, you should go through the entire string to make sure that there are no worn spots. If this happens, there could be exposed wiring, and that can be dangerous. You will want to make sure the lights work properly before you hang them, and replace any bulbs, etc. while the lights are unplugged.


Follow all instructions—the manufacturers of lights include instructions and rules to help keep you and your home safe during the holiday season, so follow all regulations listed. This means that you should only use lights for things and in places that are specifically listed as safe for that particular product, and anything else that may be stated.

Turn lights off at night—while nighttime is the best time to have your yard lit up, you should turn all lights off before you go to sleep. If a fire were to start due to the lights, it is best you be awake. Therefore, you should only have your lights on until you go to bed for the night. You may even want to invest in lights with a timer that can shut off every night at the same time, even if you aren’t home.

If you follow all of the above tips and guidelines while installing, using and testing your outdoor Christmas lights, you can have a beautifully lit up home and yard with no worries this season.

 

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