Tis the season for holiday lights galore! Some folks like just a few twinkle lights around the perimeter of their home while others go all out with decorations. That said, there are a few concrete “truths” when it comes to hanging up outdoor holiday lights. Other than adding to the festivity of the holidays, these light-hanging tips will keep both you and your house safe and secure.

First, always use a good ladder when putting up your lights.

Second, always put up lights when it’s NOT icy outside (seriously, that’s a recipe for disaster).

Make sure to secure the lights with insulated holders as opposed to nails or tacks. The holders are designed to hold the lights without putting extra holes in your roof.

Since we’re on the topic of safety, let’s talk about outlets for a moment. When it comes time to plug those lights in, make sure that you’re using a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. This particular type of outlet is one that will shut the circuit down if there’s an overcurrent. The goal is a house that’s lit up, not one that literally lights up and then burns down.

Thinking that you’ll need an extension cord? Only use cords that are designed for outdoor use, and always keep the connections above the ground. Be sure to tape your cords down if their running across walkways to prevent anyone from tripping over them.

There are lights that are designed for indoor use and lights that are designed for outdoor use. If you’re putting up lights outside, always use lights rated for outdoor use. These are designed to be either water-resistant or waterproof and are more “rugged” than their indoor counterparts. Before installing your lights, plug each strand in to make sure that all the bulbs are working. There’s nothing worse than hanging up a ton of lights only to discover that one of the strands isn’t working. Also, make sure to turn your lights off before going to bed or leaving the house.

Whether you’re just decorating the porch or covering your entire home in holiday lights, we want to make sure that you’re putting them up in the safest way possible. Remember, if you’re not sure that you’re properly equipped to do the job, call in a professional to hang your lights this holiday season!