Before Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb, candles were used to light up trees during the holiday season. Can you imagine having candles burning on a tree inside your house? As I’m betting you can imagine, this led to many house fires. Thanks to Edison and his friend Edward Johnson, the first-ever string of electric lights was put together in 1882.
Holiday lights aren’t just used for trees anymore; they’re used in many different ways. From decorating stairs to lighting up the outside of your house, string lights have become a necessity when the holiday season rolls around. If you’re anything like me, you’re busting out the lights and decorations on November 1 every year.
Here are some safety tips, tools and trends for lights during the 2016 holiday season.
Safety Tips from Mr. Electric
- Read labels. When hanging lights outside, read the back of the packaging to make sure they’re safe for the outdoors.
- Don’t use metal. When hanging lights outside, using a plastic or wooden ladder helps prevent electrical shocks.
- Don’t overload extension cords. Having more than three strings of lights on one extension cord can cause overheating and could potentially start a fire.
- Don’t leave lights on. Always remember to turn your holiday lights off whenever you’re leaving the house or going to bed. If you’re forgetful like me, opt for an electric timer and program it to turn your lights on and off at specific times.
- Examine all wires. Whether they’re new or old, always examine your wires before plugging them in since frayed wires are a fire and shock hazard.
- Buy new lights regularly. Older lights are a fire hazard. Buying new lights every year may be expensive, so wait until the end of the season when lights are on sale and save them for the following holiday season.
Holiday Light Tools
- Command Brand hooks and clips are something to consider if you don’t use them already. They’re a great way to hang up lights indoors and outdoors, with no damage to your house. Command Outdoor Light Clips stick to siding, windows or gutters, and they are specifically designed for outdoor use, so you don’t have to worry about your decorations falling down.
- Twist and Seal products are a great solution for protecting plugs outside from shocks and shortages. They’re weather resistant and come in green so that they can be easily hidden by trees and bushes. Twist and Seal also has a new cord protector made for protecting extension cords.
- There’s nothing worse than untangling your lights, only to find out that a bulb is dead. The LightKeeper Pro is a great tool for this situation. This device sends a pulse through the entire string of lights, finds the dead bulb and fixes the shunt.
- According to the DIY Network, LED lights are better than incandescent. They might cost more than incandescent lights, but they last longer. They can also save you around 80% on energy costs.
- The debate over colorful lights versus white lights is still ongoing. Personally, I love when I drive past houses with strings of colorful bulbs wrapped around the façade and in the bushes because it reminds me of a gingerbread house. Both types of lights have their proponents, so use whichever suits your fancy.
- I’m sure you’ve seen the videos of houses with Christmas lights that turn on and off to the beat of songs. This has become increasingly popular over the years. With the help of GE holiday lighting products, you, too, can have a spectacular show on your front lawn! GE Color Effects products come with a remote control, allowing you to choose from six colors and 40 functions.
Comment below with any tips, tricks or trends for holiday lights!
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