You may already have your Christmas lights up from last year or maybe you got them hung earlier this Fall or you may have yet to get around to this task on the list, whatever your situation I hope you’ll find this information helpful and of course have a safe and happy holiday season.
Gone are the days of glass bulbs, colour flaking off the bulbs, painstakingly checking each bulb by hand before you hang your Christmas lights. Today’s LED Christmas lights are made with epoxy, are lighter in weight, keep their colour longer and come in SO many colours/patterns/shapes and sizes, it’s almost overwhelming. But I digress, let’s talk about safety with these lights. One thing to check for, and that most lights sold in Canada will have is a UL approval. If you’ve purchased specialized lights off of the internet, you may want to look closely at what your lights have for safety ratings, if anything at all.
LED bulbs, as we know, use less energy and emit less heat – great so maybe they’ll save you a bit of money or you’ll feel inspired to leave them on a bit longer each day. Of course, before you hang them on your home you’ll want to plug in each strand and look for any bulbs that have stopped working. When you’re doing this inspection, it’s a good idea to check the entire length of the wire for any damage – especially if you use a staple gun to hang them up!
It’s a good idea to connect outside lights to a GFCI outlet (ground fault circuit interrupting), in case of a short or overload the outlet will trip before the breaker inside does which serves as an extra bit of protection against fires and BONUS if your breaker inside is shared with anything inside your home, you won’t lose power to it all, only the lights outside.
How many lights is too many? Well, that’s very subjective but when it comes to stringing together light strands most manufacturers suggest no more than three – overloading has been known to cause fire.
You’ll definitely want to avoid fastening your lights with a staple gun or nails, not only do these fasteners cause damage to your home, they also vastly increase the risk of short or hard to find breaks in the strands of lights. It’s suggested to use properly sized plastic light mounting clips or hooks and to fasten lights to a stable surface while avoiding electrical service lines.
Lastly with all the smart home automation that’s out there these days, a smart plug may be something to consider to control your light operation outside and inside your home.
Happy Christmas light decorating!