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Holiday Decorating Safety Guide

Having your home lit up for the holidays brings warmth and cheer to the outside of your house. The process of holiday decorating without precaution could get you injured, or your roof or gutters damaged. This guide will help you get your home ready for the shorter days of the holiday season without causing damage to yourself or your home.  If you need some inspiration for your holiday design, check out these holiday displays and events around Omaha.

Outdoor Holiday Decorating Preparation

It is important to start this process earlier in the day, daylight this time of year in Omaha is shortened and decorating in the dark could be dangerous. Dress appropriately, wear gloves, if your fingers are too cold it could hinder your grip on the ladder or your tools. 

Gather and inspect all the tools and decorations you’ll be using. Read all warning labels and instructions on your ladder, decorations and lights. Make sure all your lights and decorations are made for outdoor use, if you are not sure, do not use them outside. Take into consideration typical weather conditions in Omaha, if your home experiences a lot of wind or snow attach your decorations with this in mind. 

Inspect your ladder is in good shape (no dents, or damage, and that each rung looks intact) also make sure there is a level sturdy surface to place it on. Check each decoration and light strand for damage, frayed wires, broken or missing bulbs. Plug each strand in while you are on the ground to make sure the light strands are in working order. Measure out the approximate length of light strands you will need and be sure that your outdoor electrical outlet can accommodate the wattage needed. If you are using inflatable decorations, inspect for any damage or spots that can act like a sail if the wind picks up. While the inflatable decorations are on the ground be sure to test out any of the structures needed to weigh them down and attach them to your roof or porch. Only use an outdoor extension cord if needed and never attach multiple extension cords together, this can be a fire hazard. 

Once everything has been inspected and measured out, we recommend starting by hanging lights first then moving on to other decorations. One technique is to start from the farthest point from your outdoor outlet working towards the outlet with the lights unplugged. Do not hang lights while they are plugged into the outlet, it is much easier for the strand to get caught on something and cause a fall. If you are doing a light focal point towards the center of your home, you might want to start there, to build out your design from that point.

Climbing up the ladder safely

Anytime you have to climb a ladder, there is risk involved, holiday decorating is no exception. Review this ladder safety article we put together to help our homeowners stay safe anytime they need to get on a ladder. 

Always keep the 2 and 1 rule when ascending and descending your ladder, that is always keep either two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot on the ladder at all times. Do not try to carry large amounts of lights or decorations while climbing a ladder. Use a tool belt to hold any attaching tools you may need, there are also container attachments for your ladder. It is always recommended to have someone help you hold the ladder and hand you anything you need from the ground. Remember, never extend past your arms reach to grab or place any decorations, moving the ladder often along your house is time consuming but it could save you from getting injured.

How to attach lights to Roof shingles and gutters

We recommend using shingle clips and gutter clips to secure light strands to your home. If using shingle clips or gutter clips, put them in your tool belt or attachable container on your ladder, do not climb up a ladder with a handful of clips. They slide or snap on without puncturing any roof shingles or gutters. Never lift up roof shingles to secure shingle clips or lights, this can damage the shingle or expose the underlayer which could lead to water damage. Damage like this can often cause larger issues with your roof.

When attaching lights to your gutters, never pull or try to support your weight with the gutter, often the ladder will be resting on the gutter already, no need to add additional strain. 

Securing Inflatable Holiday Decorations

If you are putting inflatable decorations on your roof it is extremely important to remember the following:

  • Inflatable decorations need to be weighted down. Wind can easily blow them into something like a powerline causing damage.
  • Inflatable decorations need to be secured or tied down making sure the anchors will be sturdy during high winds. When wind picks up inflatable decorations can act like a sail, taking any non secure elements of your house with them.
  • Be sure to avoid any fire hazards, the ties and inflatables themselves should not be near any power lines or other hazardous elements on the exterior of your house. Remember, inflatables have a wider range of movement than lights, so leave plenty of room from any fire hazards. 

Pre-winter Roof Damage check

While you are at your roofline decorating, it is a good opportunity to check for roof or gutter damage. Any Damage to your roof or gutters if left alone all winter can cause major problems for your house when spring comes.

How to check for roof damage

Roof damage can be difficult to spot, if you need to go onto your roof to decorate we recommend avoiding any area that appears to be dipping, sagging or much darker than the rest of your roof, these areas should be inspected by a roofing company as soon as possible. Do not inspect these areas yourself, they might not be able to support your weight and there is risk of falling through. If you see any possible damage like this it is best to avoid going onto your roof all together. Easier to spot roof damage is any damaged or missing shingles, this may not look like a big deal but this type of damage could expose your roof to moisture and is best to catch these issues early.

How to check for gutter damage

Some gutter damage can be spotted easily; if your gutters are coming off or your house, or look like they are pulling away from your roof line, this needs to be repaired. Harder to spot damage could be dents or punctures that could cause debris to get stuck or have rain water run down the side of your home. This can allow water to seep into your roof, siding, or foundation.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

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