With the holidays approaching, the time has come once again to dig our Christmas decorations out of storage and start decorating. However, the task of decorating comes with some potential hazards to your home and safety. The last thing you want to wind up with is an injury or damaged siding, shingles, and gutters. That’s why we’ve provided the following tips so that you can put up your Christmas lights with as little risk to you and your roofing system as possible.
1. Make sure you’re using lights and extension cords suitable for outdoor use.
Once you’ve conceptualized your Christmas light design and measured where they’ll hang, it’s time to shop! Look for decorations that are labeled for outdoor or indoor/outdoor use. The cords that come with these lights typically hold up better to sunlight and the elements, which makes them safer to use outside.
2. If it’s rainy or sprinkling, choose another day to put up lights.
There are a few different reasons why you should wait for rain to go away before putting up your lights:
- Your ladder can get slippery and increase your chances of falling.
- You don’t want your lights’ plugs or prongs to get wet—water conducts electricity.
- Adhesive clips for hanging lights won’t stick on wet surfaces.
3. Use an extension ladder—and a buddy.
This is not a job for a rickety, old kitchen stool. To hang lights in high places, use an extension ladder. Place it securely against the side of your house, and make sure the ground beneath it is firm and level. Enlist a buddy to hold the ladder steady while you work.
4. Avoid using staples and nails.
Although staples and nails might seem like the fastest way to hang your lights, these objects can puncture the insulation around your Christmas lights’ wiring, and they’re the fastest way to wind up with damaged siding and shingles.
What’s more, nails and staples are made of metal, which conducts electricity. If these objects make contact with the wires in your Christmas lights, you’ll have a higher risk of an electrical fire starting. Instead, use the alternatives described below to put up your lights.
5. Avoid damaged siding by hanging lights with adhesive clips.
Adhesive hooks aren’t just for interiors. Command and other brands have created models suitable for outdoor use. They’re relatively inexpensive, water-resistant, and made to handle extreme temperatures, and best of all, they’re easy to remove and won’t leave behind any holes, residue, or stains. Zip ties are another way to cheaply and easily hang lights along railings.
Ideally, you’ll want to hang lights in secure locations that aren’t likely to be damaged. Hang lights along rails, windows, and columns wherever possible.
6. Hang lights along your roof and gutters with universal clips or zip ties.
All-purpose clips hold lights in place along your roof without creating holes in your shingles. For your gutters, you can use these and similar clips or simply opt for zip ties. While you’re up there, check for any problems like clogged gutters or loose shingles.