Deck the Halls…. Safely

I love driving around town in the evenings this time of year seeing homes aglow with festive cheer.  It is evident many homeowners (your home inspector included) took substantial time to light up their home.  While we love the finished product, it is important to note some safety tips while decking your halls with boughs of holly.  This week, our blog will focus on outdoor safety, and next week we will cover some indoor items.

Both electric lights, and the ladders typically needed to install them, can be a major safety hazard. Before you get started, you need to ensure that your ladder is in good condition and stable.  Use a high-quality ladder that is rated for your weight and the task at hand. For example, if you are hanging electric lights, using a fiberglass or wood ladder would be more appropriate. It is a good idea to use a tool belt to carry all of your needed materials as you climb the ladder so that you can use both hands to steady yourself. Additionally, always work within arms distance away from you while you are on the ladder. Don’t reach, lean, or stretch out to reach far away items, as it would be easy to lose your balance and fall!

It is also important to make sure all electric lights and décor are safety rated for outdoor use, and always plug them into a GFCI protected outlet. Check strands for frayed wires, broken sockets, and loose connections, before beginning your installation, and if in doubt, replace the strand.  Do not mount the lights in any way that can damage the wire covering. To hold lights in place, it is best to string them through hooks or insulated staples, rather than nails or tacks- which could easily damage the wire covering. Wires should be held in place with the ability to move slightly, and you shouldn’t pull or tug on the strand to remove them, as you can damage them for subsequent years.

If you don’t feel comfortable with ladders or heights, perhaps consider hiring professionals to do the job. They are used to tricky installations.  Above all, stay safe and enjoy the holidays!

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