The holidays sneak up on us every year. It seems like just yesterday; our electricians were packing up the decorations and putting them in storage. But, yet again, the holidays are just around the corner, so it’s time to pull out those boxes and start untangling those strings of lights.

While it’s lovely to see the strings of bright bulbs light up a street, it’s important to keep in mind that installing them comes with a few risks. To help everyone have a terrific holiday season, we thought we’d go over some safety tips for dealing with holiday lighting.


Inspect Your Lights

Depending on how well you’ve stored your lighting equipment or if you are replacing them all, start with an indoor trial run. Plug the lights and decorations into an indoor outlet to see if the wires are in good shape and that the bulbs light up. If you notice any fraying or exposed wiring, it’s best to purchase a few new strings. If a few bulbs are out, try to replace the individual bulbs before buying a whole new line. Of course, remember to unplug the series or cut off the electrical flow before attempting this.

If you are planning to buy some new outdoor holiday lights, make sure they are outdoor-graded. They will be labeled accordingly on the package and if you’re unsure, ask for help. It’s important to use only outdoor-grade lights as using indoor can increase the risk of electrical shock.

tangled christmas lights on a wood desk


Plan Ahead

Maybe you have moved into a new house or are switching up your decorating project this year; either way, it’s best to plan ahead of time! Planning means making sure you have enough power bars to support and not overload the system and that you know how many strings of lights you can connect end-to-end (usually three to four). Calculating the appropriate power and electricity needed for your lights is often a straight-forward mathematical process, and a quick search online should prove you all the tools and formulas you need!

Extra Pro Tip:

  • Make installation, and testing, easier on yourself by having the on/off switch easier to reach.

Follow the Instructions

While they are never overly complicated, holiday lights these days have come a long way since a string of energy-sucking incandescent bulbs that could pop and shatter. There are some reasonably high-tech options out there, and some elaborate designs when it comes to holiday decorations and lights. If you are stocking up on the latest, brightest, most impressive lighting trends, take a second to read the manufacturers instructions before you get going.


Wait for Good Weather

In the Lower Mainland, this might be a tall order, but it’s easier and safer to install holiday lighting on a dry day. Waiting for a non-rainy day will make it safe up the ladder and will reduce the risk of electrical shock.

If you must hang lights on a drizzling day (and let’s face it, in the Greater Vancouver Area that’s a definite possibility), then make sure you choose a wood or fiberglass ladder over a metal one. And please take extra precautions if you are going up in the wind or the rain.

winter holiday weather decorated residential home

Invest in a Timer

If you are in the habit of forgetting to turn your lights off when you go to bed or leave the house, putting the lighting on a timer is a simple solution to save you money and to reduce the risk of a potentially dangerous electrical issue.

Enjoy the Winter Festivities!

Last but not least, enjoy the holiday time with family and friends. Bask in the bright glow of the holiday lights, sip some eggnog, and reflect on the year that has come and gone.


How to Hang Christmas Lights

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