The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 15,000 injuries related to holiday decorating occur every November and December. With the holiday season upon us, you might be feeling the itch to break out those strings of twinkling lights, but don’t get so carried away with the holiday spirit that safety precautions fall by the wayside. If you are planning on getting on your roof to install Christmas lights, here are a few things you should keep in mind to keep yourself and your roof safe!
Before Your Begin
- Untangle strands of lights to save you time and effort while on the roof.
- Check your lights for bad bulbs, frayed wires or lights that flicker before hanging them. These could be signs of electrical damage, which poses a potential fire hazard.
- Use extension cords rated for outdoor use.
- Ensure that your ladders are in good condition and that you set them on flat, solid ground.
- When hanging lights directly from a ladder, try not to extend beyond the natural reach of your arm.
A good question to consider while implementing your holiday decoration plan is, “Would Clark Griswold do this?” Generally, if the answer is yes, do not proceed—especially when it comes to stapling lights to your roof.
How to Not Damage Your Roof
The best way to hang holiday lights is by stringing them through plastic clips attached to your shingles, gutters and eaves. Plastic clips designed for use with holiday lights are easy to install and remove, affordable and readily available at most home improvement or large retail stores. Using plastic clips instead of traditional nails or staples will prevent you from puncturing your shingles or gutters; even the tiniest hole in a shingle can allow moisture to seep in and potentially damage the roof. Using nails or staples can also puncture the wires of your lights, or wear down their insulating coating, potentially causing electrical problems.
- Don’t overload your roof. Before you land Santa’s sleigh up there, look into options that don’t weigh as much. Consider a high-quality plastic facade instead. They can be as detailed as you like and weigh significantly less.
- Consider your lawn. Think about decorating your lawn instead of your roof. You can create a winter wonderland right at your front door, without worrying about potential damage to your roof.
- Hire a professional to install decorations. If you’re still set on decorating your roof for Christmas, look into hiring a professional. Like you should with any pro, ask for references and ask them if their roof was damaged from the decorations the year prior.
Christmas is a season of festivity and celebration, so have fun with your decorations, but make sure that it’s not at the expense of your roof—or you might end up on Santa’s naughty list.
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