Simple Steps to a Spectacular, Yet Safe, Seasonal Show of Your Shanty

When indulging in the brightest of Christmas traditions – decorating your home with lavish light displays – safety precautions might not be on the top of your list of priorities. But when you consider that you’ll soon have more exposed wiring than what exists throughout your house and property the rest of the year, the necessity of taking a few precautions becomes obvious. Following a few simple rules of thumb, you can rest assured that no disasters befall your holiday spectacle – without dampening your sense of fun.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when planning a display’s general outlay.

1. You’ll want to keep cords away from moisture

Keep cords away from things like outdoor puddles, and sources of heat like fireplaces, furnaces, and heaters.

2. Don’t substitute indoor for outdoor lights or visa versa.

Swapping indoor and outdoor lights can mean flirting with electric shock or power failure. Lastly, if you have children and/or pets then display your lights somewhere where they won’t be touching them. Avoid an area if you have any doubts about being able to keep them away from the cords and sockets there.

3. Use one long extension cord rather than several small ones if possible.

This minimizes the number of connections you’ll need (and the resultant number of potential hazards). There are a few risks involved with running a cord from an outlet inside the house to an outdoor display: it’s likely to be stepped on, or damaged by the closing of windows and doors. It’s preferable to hire an electrician to install power outlets on the outside of the house.

4. Never touch a lit display.

Turn it off and unplug it before replacing burned-out bulbs or rearranging a light strand. Dead bulbs should be replaced immediately, as they interfere with the flow of electricity through a wire–and empty sockets pose too great a danger to children.

5. When possible, turn the bulbs that you string on any trees upside down.

Turn the bulbs so they point away from branches and towards the ground. This keeps bulbs’ burning filaments from getting branches hot – and prevents moisture from settling in the bulbs’ sockets.

6. Never leave your lit display unattended.

Turn off and unplug all electrical fixtures whenever you can’t be there to keep an eye on them.

Simply be aware of the natural enemies of any electrical system: heat and flame, moisture, and damage to wires and connections. General safety in regards to Christmas light displays doesn’t need to be complicated. And keep out of the reach of children.

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