Safely and affordably illuminate your home

‘Tis the season for hanging holiday lights. Follow these tips to ensure that you don’t break the bank—or any bones—this year.

man hanging Christmas lights
© amyinlondon

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we can whip out those holiday decorations and attempt to transform our home into a winter wonderland. One of the season’s staples? Lights.

From the tree to the roof, we found answers to some of the season’s common questions.

According to Energy Star, 12 percent of your energy bill goes toward lighting, and for obvious reasons this number increases during the holiday months. To save money on your next bill, try investing in LED lights, which use about 90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. LED lights generally last longer, produce the same amount of light and are cooler to the touch (thus decreasing fire risks), too.

Speaking of fire risks, when it comes to using lights indoors, Dominion Energy advises that people not overload electrical outlets or run chords under carpets or furniture and to unplug all chords when they are not in use. Should you hang your lights inside, opt for hooks with adhesive backs for easy hang up and take down.

To take savings to the next level, putting lights on a timer may help, preventing you from forgetting to turn lights off overnight.

Once you’re content with your interior design, the first thing you should do before stringing lights along the gutter is test the lights you want to use on the ground, ensuring that the bulbs and wiring are working before you go through all the trouble of hanging them. Hooks can simplify this process as well.

If you need to use a ladder, have someone be your spotter. Place the ladder on firm, even ground, make sure that you are wearing appropriate attire/shoes and don’t attempt to hang lights during or after snow.

According to a 2004 report from the CDC, over 17,000 people nationwide were sent to the hospital after having fallen while decorating. Some of the CDC’s tips include using a stepping stool instead of furniture if indoors, avoiding using the ladder’s top two rungs, clearing the area around the ladder, locking the ladder when in use and moving the ladder rather than attempting to reach across.

Finally, though this should go without saying, lay off the eggnog and other alcoholic beverages.