The Do’s & Don’ts of Installing Holiday Lights

Are you installing holiday lights this year?

If so, understanding the do’s and don’ts of installing holiday lights is not only important but also easy. We all get a chuckle out of the neighbor who goes all out during this time of year to make the biggest statement with their holiday lighting displays.  Creating something that can be seen from outer space or that forces you to keep your blinds closed at the risk of going blind from the glare of lights is part of the holiday season.  Whether you’re “that guy” or the neighbor who has to deal with “that guy”, you should know that there is a right way and a wrong way to hang holiday lights, whether indoors or outdoors.  The price of doing it the wrong way can be very costly.

Last year alone, more than 11,000 people were treated for injuries related to installing holiday lighting, or from injuries sustained by fires caused by improperly installed lights.  These injuries include burns, shock, injuries from falls, and even deaths from electrocution and fire related injuries.  Outside of the injuries to humans, last year over 8.4 million in property damage, mostly from fire was recorded.

So, Let’s Go Over the List of What to DO and What Not to Do to Avoid Trouble


  1. When replacing a burnt-out bulb, make sure the wattage is compatible. Using bulbs with wattages above the light strands recommended level can lead to overheating and is a definite fire hazard.
  2. Do ensure any extension cords, timers, or power strips are designed for outdoor use. Water and Electricity is a bad combination.  If it isn’t UL Outdoor rated, don’t use it.
  3. Do inspect all lights, outlets, plugs, or fixtures you intend to use before starting your project. If there is a spark or you feel heat at the power source, call an electrician.
  4. As you inspect your lights, toss out any light strand where you can see loose or bared wires
  5. Do only use outlets outdoors that are equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter.
  6. Do spend the extra money and invest in energy efficient LED lights. They have a longer life, are more durable, and improvements in LED technology mean colors are vibrant.  And by the way, LED lights use far less energy.  You’ll thank yourself in the long run as you won’t get “shocked” by your utility bill.
  7. When it’s time to take your lights down, Do inspect them before storing away for next season. If you know you have lights that need replacing the best time to buy them is right after the holidays.
  8. Do wrap your light strands around an old coffee can or similar device. You’ll thank yourself next year by not having to spend hours untangling your jumbled mess!


  1. Don’t use indoor lights for your outside lighting. This is just asking for trouble.
  2. Don’t leave your indoor tree lights on at night or if you leave your home.
  3. Don’t use damaged or old light strands indoors or outdoors. You should replace lights periodically.  Remember the best time to buy Holiday lights is right after the Holidays!
  4. Don’t try to hang lights outside your home without someone to help you by holding the ladder. Falls from ladders account for a large percentage of injuries suffered during the holidays.
  5. Don’t use an indoor extension cord outdoors. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is the cause of many electrical problems including fires
  6. Don’t run extension cords in high traffic areas, and NEVER run an extension cord under a rug. If you want lights in an area that doesn’t have easy outlet access, consider using battery powered lights.
  7. Don’t use nails or staple guns to hang any lights, indoors or outdoors. Not only can they be a pain to take down but are one of the main causes of fires.  Instead, use magnetic clips where appropriate, gutter hooks, or plastic clips.

Who to Call for All Your Electrical Needs?  Positricity….Of Course

We stand ready to help you with all your electrical needs. When you require an experienced residential or commercial electrician, who will diagnose and fix electrical problems immediately, look no further than the professionals at Positricity.  With 24/7 service, we are available when you need us the most. Schedule your appointment today!

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