Hanging lights starts with safety

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Q: What are the dos and don’ts for hanging holiday lights?

A: Hanging the holiday lights can a joyous occasion, but sometimes it can be difficult, frustrating, and even dangerous if done incorrectly.

The first step to creating a beautiful holiday lighting display is to come up with a good lighting plan.

Identify the electrical outlets and power sources for your lights. Take a look at the features of your home and landscaping and take an inventory of how many lights and extension cords you will need.

Remember, the more lights you hang, the more power you will need.

A great option to avoid power problems is to install LED lights, which can use much less power.

When installing your holiday lights, always remember safety first. Have a friend or neighbor help.

You should never hang your lights alone. Turn the power off. Unplug the lights while you hangthem.

Use non-damaging light clips whenever possible to hang lights. Connect only the manufacturer recommended number of light sets together.

Use outdoor rated extension cords and timers on outlets with GFI protection. Weatherproof your lights by using electrical tape to cover exposed light sockets.

Don’t install lights in windy or rainy weather conditions. Don’t install too many lights on one outlet or timer – timers can only handle so much power, so be careful not to install too many lights onto one timer or outlet.

—    Robert Webster, president/lighting designer, Tampa Lights Inc., (813) 767-9189, www.tampalights.com