Every neighborhood has at least one. The house that illuminates the whole block with holiday lights and decorations like in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. But even if you’re not decorating at the level of Clark Griswold, lights and electricity should always be handled with caution.

So, before you get started, check out these lighting safety tips to keep your holidays bright, merry and carefree.

Inspect your lights

We know you’re excited to see your grand light display come to life, but before you start you should make sure to inspect all your lights. Check for frayed cords and wires and sockets without bulbs. In addition, make sure you’re not using lights designed for indoor use outside. Indoor lights aren’t insulated like outdoor lights and can become dangerous if they come in contact with moisture.  It’s not the most exciting activity but it will keep you and your family safe!

Check your surroundings

Whether you’re outside decorating your home and yard, or indoors decorating your tree, always check your surroundings for potential hazards. When outside, make sure to keep all holiday lights away from power lines and other electrical equipment. When indoors, avoid running cords under rugs, through doorways, or near furniture where they may be stepped on, tripped over, or broken.

Follow the three to one rule

It’s a general rule that plugging more than three sets of holiday lights into one extension cord may cause overheating problems. Avoid doing this to make sure your lights shine bright throughout the entire holiday season.

Do not use nails or screws to secure lights

Using nails and screws to secure lights can damage the wires causing them to malfunction, or even worse, shock the person putting them up. Light clips are an effective alternative that won’t hurt the wires, or yourself.

Store your lights properly

When the holidays are over, and no one feels motivated to go take down all the lights they put up just a few weeks ago – it’s important you do! The longer you keep your lights up, the better chance they get damaged by weather or chewed on by animals. Once they’re taken down, store all lights in a sealed container to prevent water damage and keep them safe for use next year!

Now that you’re prepared, go challenge your neighbors to be the most festive house this year!