Thanks to Long Roofing for contributing these Dos and Don’ts for Hanging Holiday Decorations . As we make a turn towards the holiday season, you may already have visions of scarecrows and Santa Claus dancing in your head — and across the front of your home.
Mounted holiday lights lend a magical glow to your outdoor decorating and make your home look extra-festive. There’s a lot of reality behind all of that magic, though — reality that includes climbing ladders, scaling rooftops, tinkering with electricity and testing your own personal safety limits in the name of a spookier Halloween display or more whimsical sleigh scene than the Joneses. How can you make your house look great, but stay safe at the same time?
Dos and Don’ts for Hanging Holiday Decorations
Measure Twice, Buy Once
Make sure you have enough lights and clips to fulfill your master plan. You’ll want to make sure you have everything you need before you get up on a ladder. Bad news, friends: this is going to involve some math.
Measure the base of the house, going along any turns and corners, to estimate what you’ll need for your roofline. Measure any doors, door frames, window frames or columns you plan to light. And don’t forget to measure the distance to your power source!
Where to Hang, How to Hang
When you know exactly where you want to hang your lights — roofline, gutters, shingles? — assess your placement sites. There are specific clips for each type of surface, and you’ll need to know parameters like the thickness of the gutter lip, or how loose or tight the shingles on your roof are. Be very careful as you make these measurements.
Put these recommendations from OSHA (they know safety!) into practice when you start making serious use of your ladder this season:
• Read all markings on the ladder. Simple, but smart.
• Avoid electrical hazards. Look before you ladder! You don’t want to end up in the hospital because you climbed right into a power line.
• Maintain 3-point contact (two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand) as you climb.
• Don’t move or shift a ladder while a person in on it — and no, the “hopping” method is never OK.
• An extension ladder should slide three feet above the point of support. Never climb onto the top rungs unless your ladder was specifically built to support people in that manner.
To prevent overloading a circuit or blowing a fuse, calculate the wattage of your lights (more math). Multiply the wattage of the bulb by the number of sockets to get total wattage of a string light, then divide the total watts by 120 to reach total amps.
Also, never connect different types of lights on the same circuit or outlet.
When it’s time to climb the ladder and start installing your clips and lights, find an assistant to help with your supplies. If you don’t have an assistant, use an S hook to hang a bucket to your ladder to hold your supplies.
If you can skip the ladder altogether and use an extension pole, even better.
Roofs are not made for extensive walking — just ask the roofing professionals. Plan your design accordingly and remember to use a safe and sturdy ladder to hang your lights.
If you’re planning an elaborate light display that covers your entire roof, make sure you have the appropriate safety equipment, such as a harness, to help avoid accidents.
If you don’t have the right equipment, you might consider hiring a professional.
Be safe out there, and have a great holiday season and be sure to follow these Dos and Don’ts for Hanging Holiday Decorations!