Yes, it’s almost that time of year again: the holidays. Reindeer, Santa, fruitcakes, stockings, visions of sugar plumbs dancing in our heads, and, of course, Christmas lights. Adding a sense of essence to a neighborhood house, Christmas lights are hung from chimneys and roof eaves with cheer. Remember, though, danger soon could appear. In order to keep your holidays merry, keep these Christmas light safety tips in mind:
Watch for Ice: Whether you are climbing on a roof or looking for a place to set your ladder, ice is your enemy. Sometimes it’s obvious, with a sidewalk or a rooftop being visibly slick, and sometimes it is black ice, ice you don’t really notice until it’s too late.
Before you step anywhere or set a ladder down, be sure there is no ice in the vicinity. Check suspicious areas closely and lay down salt or sand when warranted. It’s better to be safe than falling.
Check Lights and Unravel Them on Ground Level: After sitting in your basement or attic for nearly a year, Christmas lights probably aren’t in the best shape. Some lights are loose, some are burnt out, and some cords are tangled in a tight, but oddly well done, sailor’s knot.
Don’t wait until you are standing on top of a ladder to learn your lights need some work. Because getting them “roof top ready” can take some time, unravel and check them on ground level.
Make Sure Your Lights are Approved for Outdoor Use: There are indoor lights, there are outdoor lights, and then there are the switch hitters: lights that do both. Before hanging lights up outside, make sure they are suitable for the outdoors (if they are, it will say on the box).
It’s also important to make sure the lights were checked by a legitimate testing laboratory, such as UL. Look for seals of approval before you approve them for your house.