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Your Guide to Hanging Exterior Holiday Lights Safely

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The world is lighting up in festive magic once again—the Christmas lights market was worth $6.8 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach $9 billion in 2026. Holiday lights are one of our favorite traditions here at Sherriff Goslin Roofing, which is why we wanted to take time to ensure that everyone here in the Midwest can make spirits bright in the safest way possible.

Make sure holiday light safety is a priority when putting up your decorations, especially on your roof. After all, about 160 injuries related to Christmas decorating are reported every day during the holiday season. Here are some important tips for hanging exterior Christmas lights so you and your family can make the most of the season.

Top 5 Holiday Light Safety Tips to Follow this Season

1. Inspect Your Roof Before Putting Up Christmas Decorations

It’s not just Christmas fires you should be mindful of, but Christmas falls as well. So, be careful when you put up decorations on your roof. Get a partner to help you, as two (or more) hands are always better—and safer—than one. 

Inspect the roof beforehand to ensure it doesn’t have any cracks or decaying parts that may be unable to hold the decor items. Ideally, a roof contractor should inspect your roof once or twice every year to ensure maximum roof safety. You can schedule your inspections every fall season just in time for putting up holiday lights. 

If you see even the most minor roof issue, get it repaired immediately. You don’t want the minor problem to become bigger and more expensive later on—or worse, to cause a safety hazard during the most wonderful time of the year.

Sherriff Goslin knows how important it is to maintain a secure roof. Rest assured, our residential roofing repair services are fast and affordable. We know how to do a thorough job without inconveniencing you or your family. 

2. Use Only UL-Certified Christmas Lights

When buying new Christmas lights, check that they have the UL stamp. It stands for Underwriter Laboratories, a third-party organization that certifies that products have been tested and are safe to use. Most lights you purchase at major retailers are required to have this certification, but it never hurts to look—especially if you purchased your lights online or at a discount.

Also, be sure to confirm that the lights are rated for outdoor use. Never use indoor lighting in outdoor environments!

3. Examine Old Christmas Lights

Reusing old lights is practical and cost-efficient. However, inspect your old Christmas lights thoroughly before hanging them. Replace busted bulbs and faulty wiring. Don’t hesitate to discard the lights if they have too much wear and tear—your safety and that of your family is more important and should not be compromised. 

Newer LED Christmas lights can last at least seven years and even longer with proper care. However, overuse or improper storage of the lights could lead to a shorter lifespan. 

4. Be Careful About Christmas Light Fasteners

If you plan to hang lights or decorations on or near your roof, make sure you don’t use any type of fastener that will puncture or damage your shingles. These include nails, staples, and screws. Even seemingly minor holes from these fasteners can open the door for leaks and moisture to enter your roof and threaten the integrity of the shingle.

You can use a variety of plastic clips that are safer for use around shingles, eaves, and gutters, such as:

  • All-in-one clips that secure onto asphalt shingles and gutter edges
  • Hooks that clip to the line or strand
  • Hooks that clip to the bulb
  • Roof peak clips
  • Clips specified for different roofing materials (e.g., clay tile roof clips, eave clips, flat roof clips, etc.)

5. Turn the Lights Off Regularly

Holiday lights are amazing, but you can’t compromise safety for aesthetics. This means turning them off during the day, as leaving them for too long may become a fire hazard. Check the packaging of your Christmas lights to determine safety precautions in terms of usage. 

Moreover, holiday lights are not meant for year-long use. Take down your Christmas lights after the holidays, and make sure to pack them up properly so you won’t have trouble untangling them next year. 

Don’t Forget Your Roof When You’re Decorating for the Holidays

You can make the most of your holiday festivities when you take just a few small precautions. Whether you’re going all-out in a 

Get a Free Roof Inspection in Michigan, Ohio, & Indiana

Before climbing to put up Christmas lights, ensure that your roof is safe enough for the activity. Sherriff Goslin offers free inspections performed by our team of experienced professionals. Request your free roofing quote here or call (269) 962-4036.