Are Exterior Christmas Lights Safe In the Rain And Snow?
Whenever the holiday season kicks in, an outdoor Christmas lighting installation is one of the most spectacular sights to behold. But as it is located outside, it’s prone to coming in contact with snow and rain. And as we all know — water and electricity are a recipe for disaster. So, it is only logical to wonder whether outdoor lights are safe.
The short answer to this is yes, granted that what you will use — from the lights to the extension cords — are rated for outdoor use. However, even if this is the case, Christmas lights installers still advise employing proper preventive measures to avoid any accident. Here are some tips to make sure your exterior holiday lights are safe:
Keep connections to a minimum. Measure properly and use the right extension length — this way, you won’t have to have a connection in the middle, minimizing the risk of letting an electrical issue happen. For all the necessary connections, make sure to keep them off the ground.
Coat your connections with grease. Christmas lighting installation companies also recommend protecting your connections with electrical-safe grease. Take note that grease repels water; hence coating your connections with this product can help shed your holiday lights from the outdoor environment’s excessive moisture.
Invest in GFCI protection. GFCI refers to Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. It is one of the most useful electrical safety improvements over the last decades because it is designed to turn off electrical power whenever there’s a ground-fault. GFCI outlets are typically installed near parts of the house that use water (e.g. Water heater, sink, washing machine).
Install weather-resistant receptacles. Christmas lights installers also advise homeowners to use an outdoor receptacle instead of using an indoor one and running a cord out through one of your doors or windows. The receptacle you’ll use needs to be weather-resistant — meaning, it is well protected from freezing and dampness.
Secure controllers and power supplies with waterproof boxes. These components of your holiday lights set-up are considered vulnerable because they don’t usually come with a protective box (this is why people also call or consider them as “bare-boards”). So to protect it from snow or rain or any other natural element, you should invest in waterproof boxes. When choosing one, take note of how convenient it will be for you to get cables in and out.
Use non-metal materials when attaching holiday lights. When you’re attaching holiday decorations like a Christmas lighting installation, be careful not to use anything that has metal in it. If you will recall, metal is a good conductor of electricity. In case it comes in contact with water, your holiday ornaments can become electrical hazards. Experts recommend using plastic cable ties or the likes instead.
Consult with holiday lights experts. Safety should be a top priority when you’re installing outdoor holiday lights. To ensure your installation is safe in the rain and snow, it’s better to invest in consulting with experts in the field. They know the best practices and they can prevent electrical disasters from happening.