Keeping Your Outdoor Lights Safe This Year

Filed under: Electrical Tips

With the holidays approaching, you may be dreading the decorating process, or looking forward to it with excitement. Either way, you definitely want to make sure your outdoor lights are safe, in order to prevent injuries and fires. Even though your decorations are temporary, that doesn’t mean you should skimp on safety. Keep the following things in mind:

Decorative christmas lights for a back yard partyUse the appropriate lights. You may not be able to use the same lights both inside and outside. Look for words like “outdoor lighting” on the package, to be sure the bulbs can withstand variations in temperature and humidity.

Use the right extension cords. Only use extension cords marked for outdoor use. Otherwise they could be too thin and flimsy, and create a serious hazard when they get wet.

Plug that cord into a weather-resistant outdoor receptacle. Never plug your extension cords into an inside outlet and run the cord out a window or door. Their receptacles need to be able to handle heat, cold, and dampness.

Cover receptacles in damp locations. If there’s any chance your outdoor receptacle will be subjected to rain or wetness from other sources, install an “in-use” cover over it. This will keep it dry, even in the rain.

Decorate wisely. Remember that light bulbs, along with producing light, also give off a lot of heat. That’s probably fine on your roof or around your porch railing, but think twice about using holiday lights around flammable decorations like straw, hay, pine cones, and the like. That cozy manger could quickly become a raging inferno in your front yard!

Be careful how you attach those lights. Use the plastic clips sold alongside holiday lights to attach lights to your roof or other locations. Don’t use anything containing metal, which conducts electricity, and don’t staple the lights or use anything else which might damage the cords.

Beware of little critters.  Lighting cords near the ground are great chew toys for rabbits, gophers, squirrels, etc…   So do your best to keep cords elevated and away from the ground to avoid shorts and fire hazards that can result from chewing incidents.

If you need to make upgrades to your electrical system, or have any other questions about outdoor lighting safety, call Rick Lawson at Recom Electric  (951) 698-6132.