Outdoor Holiday Decorations and your Home Security System – Part 1

December 24, 2010 in Home Security System,Outdoor systems

Don’t you just love coming home to see your house decorated with Christmas lights, maybe a Santa on the roof, and a few reindeer in the front yard? Every year, thousands of Americans decorate the outsides of their homes for the holidays. And though it creates a festive feeling, there’s not much holiday cheer if you suffer an accident while putting up your decorations, or if your home security system is impaired due to an obscured camera. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, hospitals treat about 12,500 people every year for Christmas decoration-related injuries, and the amount of home security systems that fail annually due to faulty decorations is still unknown. The following tips will help you avoid common mistakes that could cost you your health, your possessions, or even your home.

  • Only use lights with fused plugs that conform to outdoor safety standards. You should see a notice on the package that says the lights have been tested for outdoor safety by a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Before you hang up your lights, check each one individually for broken or cracked sockets, loose connections, or frayed or bare wires. Replace burned-out light bulbs with new ones with the same wattage, and throw out sets of lights that are beyond repair.
  • All outdoor decorations and lights must be plugged into circuits that are protected by ground circuit interrupters, or GFCIs. You can find these at most electric supply stores.
  • Make sure you use a sturdy ladder when you hang up your Christmas lights. Ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to hold it steady for you so you don’t lose your balance and fall. Never walk on drainpipes or damaged roofs.
  • When you hang up your Christmas lights and decorations, make sure not to obstruct any security cameras or motion-activated lights.
  • Don’t hang heavy lights and decorations close to windows. If they’re blown against them in a heavy wind, your home security system will go off, and most likely cause your electric system to blow out.
  • Place your Christmas decorations strategically. You might know it’s the season of goodwill, but criminals don’t care. You still want to have a clear, unobstructed view of your yard, driveway, and porch, just in case somebody is hiding there.

After hanging up your Christmas lighting, remember to put your ladder back in your shed or garage. You don’t want to leave it outside, only to find out later a burglar used it to enter your house through an upstairs window.

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