The proper outdoor lighting can set the mood or create an ambiance for fun, deep conversation, or individual relaxation. Once you realize the possibilities that exist for outdoor lighting, it can be hard to stop putting it up. As long as you keep things safe, this shouldn’t be a problem. Here are some tips for keeping things running safely and well.
Use the Right Extension Cords
If you’re putting extension cords outside, make sure that they were intended to be there. Outdoor extension cords have extra insulation and waterproofing, so you won’t have to worry about them breaking or water interrupting your circuit. Similarly, make sure that your cords are rated for the number of lights that you intend to attach to them. Using the wrong cord can cause an electrical fire!
Let Them Hang Free
Make sure that any and all hanging lights are not set on top of or under fabric or up against anything else. Your lights were made to hang free. That way, if they get hot, there’s nothing flammable around them. This can also protect them from pokes and punctures, all of which can be hazardous. Similarly, make sure that any inset lights on a deck or patio are not up against dry plants or brush. This can start a fire, too.
Examine It Before You Install It
If you don’t keep your outdoor lights up year round, they can spend a lot of the year folded into unnatural shapes or stuffed into boxes. Make sure that the electrical components of anything you plan to use are entirely intact. Even a small crack can be a hazard. Look, too, for loose connections, any fraying wires or broken bulbs, or anything that raises your suspicions. Test each piece before you place it, too, just to make sure everything is working. You may want to inspect any light fixtures before you install them, too, just to make sure it’s all working the way it was designed to.
Where one set of lights look great, two or three or four will look better, right? While you might like the way they look, it’s not good for your circuits if overdo it on the outdoor lighting on your pool, your house, or anything else. Be aware of how much you are asking of your plugs and your circuits and how much they can take. If you’re ever unsure, it’s probably time to call in a professional.
Water Your Plants
Even if you take all of the recommended precautions, your lights can start a fire if the plants around them get too dry. Monitor them daily and water them whenever necessary. Many plants come with specific watering instructions, so learn these and follow them closely. This will help your plants grow and keep your outdoor living space safe.
Save money and energy and avoid lights that heat up by replacing your older lights with LEDs. These don’t get nearly as hot and they don’t use nearly as much electricity, so you can put up more lights and worry about them less.