Skip navigation to main content.

7 Safety Tips for Hanging Holiday Lights

As the holiday season approaches and you start getting into the Christmas spirit, one of the first things you might want to do is put up Christmas lights around your home. While Christmas lights are beautiful and a great way to brighten up dark winter days, they can also be an electrical hazard if you don’t know how to safely put them up inside and outside your home. Before you start hanging your Christmas lights, make sure you know how to do it safely.



1. Wait for Nice Weather

When you’re hanging Christmas lights outside, it’s important to take the weather into account first. If it’s cold, icy, or wet outside, you’re significantly increasing the risk of an accident. Slippery or icy conditions can be especially dangerous if you’re walking on your roof or up on a ladder hanging lights, as you could slip and fall. For safety’s sake, wait for nice, dry weather before you hang your lights.

2. Evaluate Your Personal Risks

While you’ll probably want to hang your lights yourself, you should do a risk check-in with yourself first. For example, if you’ve been taking a medication that affects your balance, strength, or clarity of mind, you should consider giving the ladder a rest and letting someone else hang the lights. Even if you feel low risk, it’s almost always a good idea to have someone help you hold the ladder and assist with any difficult tasks.

3. Inspect The Condition of Your Christmas Lights

Before you begin hanging up your lights, you should check their condition. Besides saving you time from having to replace a set of lights that don’t turn on once you’ve already hung them, examining the condition of your lights can prevent fire hazards. 

Damaged electrical wiring in your lights can end up causing a short and potentially starting a fire. As a result, don’t use any lights with damaged or cracked sockets, bare or frayed wires, or loose connections. Additionally, if you have any burnt-out bulbs, make sure you replace the bulbs with new ones featuring the same wattage. 

4. Don’t Hang Holiday Lights Outside Unless They’re Rated for Outdoor Use

If you like to hang lights inside and outside your home, you may have some lights that aren’t rated for outdoor use. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS) states that any outside lights should be tested by a recognized testing laboratory to ensure the lights follow safety standards. 

Since untested lights or those that have only been designed for indoor use will likely not be able to withstand wet and icy conditions, it’s safest to stick to tested lights made for the outdoors. Some credible testing companies include Intertek and Underwriters Laboratory, so look for their approval before hanging any lights outdoors. You can also always consult a qualified electrician to find out if you should hang your lights outdoors or not.

5. Plug Any Lights Into a Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) Outlet

A Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a type of outlet designed for safety, as it will cut off power whenever it senses a disruption in the flow of electricity. By detecting changes in the flow of electricity, these outlets will automatically shut off if electricity comes into contact with water. 

If your lights aren’t plugged into one of these outlets, wet conditions could cause an electrical fire at the outlet, putting your entire home and family in danger. When you don’t have GFCI outlets already, you can hire a certified electrician to install them. 

6. Switch to LED Christmas Lights

While you might have a box full of incandescent lights, you may want to consider upgrading to LED lights this year. Incandescent lights tend to burn hotter and use more energy, meaning LED lights carry less of a burn and fire hazard and are less likely to overload your circuit breaker. Alongside offering greater safety, LED lights require much less energy and can reduce your electricity costs.

If you plan to use incandescent and LED lights, make sure you don’t connect them together. Since incandescent lights use up more power, connecting them with LEDs can end up overloading and frying your LED lights’ electrical wiring.

7. Avoid Powering All Your Lights With a Single Extension Cord or Outlet

As you string up your lights, you might be tempted to plug them all into one extension cord or outlet. While plugging them into one location might seem more convenient, it can be dangerous and overload your circuit breaker. When you plug too many lights into one outlet, you’re more likely to overdraw your power and overload your circuit breaker’s current limit. Overdrawing your power can seriously harm your electrical wiring and cause your circuit breaker to trip. 

Choose Bonney for Outdoor Lighting Installation and Electrical Service in Sacramento

If you’re interested in upgrading your outdoor lighting before the holiday season and you’re looking for an electrician near you in Sacramento, Bonney is here to help. Our team of certified electricians can assist with multiple electrical services, including outdoor lighting installation, GFCI installation, and LED lighting installation. Whatever your lighting needs, our team can give you the service you need to stay safe and brighten up your home. When you’re on a strict budget, we also offer multiple electrical financing options and coupons to ensure our service is affordable.

Learn more about our electrical services today. If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, please contact us