Let’s avoid a holiday disaster!

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Decorating for the holidays can be a fun tradition, but some exterior decorating, especially with electrical cord, can present a few hazards. The Electrical Safety Foundation International estimates that about 160 home fires are caused by holiday lighting each year. Follow these tips or share these tips with your customers for safe holiday decorating:

1. Have a game plan before you start.

This will minimize time spent on your roof or on the ladder.

2. Use a minimal amount of lights.

Debating whether to add a little extra? Opt for less this year. This will minimize your chances of blowing a fuse and save on your electric bill.

3. Consider LED lights.

Speaking of lowering your energy bill, LEDs will keep cooler and lower your energy usage. They’re also more durable than incandescent light bulbs.

4. Choose lights with a UL approved label.

Lights with a UL label mean they’ve passed safety tests by Underwriters Laboratory. Make sure you’re using outdoor lights, too. You wouldn’t want to finish your lighting project only to find the lights are only safe for indoor usage.

5. Check for damaged lights or wires before using.

Damaged sockets, broken lights or bare wires can cause fire or shock.

6. Check your surroundings before climbing the ladder.

Make sure children and pets are inside and there are no threats to your ladder’s positioning.

7. Decorate in daylight.

Start decorating at a decent hour so you’re not stuck in the middle of hanging lights when the sun goes down.

8. Choose the right ladder.

According to HGTV, you should choose a ladder that extends about three feet over the roofline where you’ll be hanging lights. Don’t use metal ladders when working with electricity; Wooden or fiberglass ladders are a safer option. Inspect your ladder before using.

9. Make sure you’re using the right outlet.

According to CenterPoint Energy holiday safety tips, you should “only plug outdoor decorations into outlets protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) to prevent shock.”

10. Read labels.

It may seem redundant, but especially if you’re installing a new decoration that requires electricity, make sure to carefully read the label and warnings.

11. Stay away from power lines.

ESFI recommends keeping “yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet from power lines.”

12. Cover your bases if you’re going out of town.

Vacationing for the holidays? Be careful about which decorations you leave on timers while you’re gone. Remember, blow up decorations can be turned off by the wind or even blown away by the wind. Make sure a neighbor has a way to contact you in case anything happens to your home while away.

We wish you a happy holiday season and safe decorating! If you have a large-scale decorating project or need estimates for several lighting projects, order a RoofScope, SidingScope,ConcreteScope or GutterScope report** today!

Oh, and last but not least…

13. Don’t leave the reindeer on your lawn all year.

Santa becomes a little irrelevant around Valentine’s Day. According to Today.com, about 90% of voters believe winter holiday decorations should be taken down by January 6, 2015. (This is less of a safety hazard and more of a PSA from your neighbors!)

*Image via YouTube

**Not sure which type of scope report will be most helpful for your project? Give our experts a call at 877.697.2673 and we'll help you out.