We look forward to beautiful holiday light displays at this time of year. However, holiday decorations cause numerous residential fires each year, most of which could be prevented. So before you plot your head-turning holiday display, let’s review some best practices for installing and storing holiday décor.
Verify that all outdoor electrical outlets are working. It’s best to plug lights directly into outdoor ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. When extension cords are required, it’s safer to use a longer, heavy-duty cord than to string together shorter extension cords. The extension cords used must be rated for outdoor use by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) – ground fault circuit interrupter.
Don’t overload electrical outlets. According to the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, no more than three standard-size sets of lights should be used per extension cord. If your garage and outdoor outlets are on the same circuit, you’ll need to take the lighting, garage door opener, outlets and other items plugged inside your garage into the equation as well. Lay out your holiday display with the location of electrical outlets in mind to reduce the temptation to use too many extension cords.
Examine Holiday Lighting for Damage
Examine each string of holiday lights for damage sustained during previous use or storage. Dispose of lighting with cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires and loose connections. Test each light string, then replace burned out bulbs. When buying new holiday lights, consider LED lights, which burn cooler and use less energy.
Safely Install Lighting
To reduce fire hazard, secure lights with insulated tape, insulated staples or hooks. Don’t use nails or tacks. Do not attach lighting over, under or along metal eavestroughs.
Securely fasten lights to the walls of the house or garage, trees, or other stable structures to avoid wind damage. Point bulbs toward the ground to keep moisture out of the sockets. Hang lighting and extension cords high enough above the ground so they won’t sit in snow and puddles.
Don’t block exits with holiday decorations. All exits must remain easily accessible, in the event of a fire. For added safety, turn off the lights at night or when you are away from home.
Storing Holiday Decorations
Safely storing holiday décor is the best way to ensure that lighting and other décor remains in good repair. Clear, stackable plastic containers provide excellent storage space for holiday décor. Contents remain visible, making it easier to find items. As you dismantle holiday light displays, note the length of each string of lights and where it was used. Include this info on or in the storage container. Eliminate tangling, which can damage wiring, by using a holiday lights storage reel or wrapping each string around a clean, empty cylindrical can or a piece of cardboard.
Dead space in the garage provides an ideal location for storing seasonal items like holiday lighting and decorations. How can you make the best use of what may seem like unusable space in your garage? Here are three options:
- Overhead Storage Racks: Installing overhead shelving can be tricky, so consult a garage renovation specialist if you’re unfamiliar with how to safely install weight-bearing overhead shelving. Garage Tailors Garage offers metal storage shelving to make underutilized ceiling height functional. Metal storage units are made of durable steel and the largest units support up to 700lbs. Store lighting and other holiday decorations in stackable bins on overhead storage racks in the garage. Access the space using a step ladder.
- Install a pulley-based storage platform. Accessing seasonal items stored on overhead storage shelves can be difficult for those with physical limitations. A pulley-based platform uses a crank to lower the items to the floor where they can easily be loaded or unloaded. This type of system is ideal for storing artificial trees and large outdoor displays. Consult a garage renovation specialist to determine whether this option is feasible for your garage.
Made-to-measure solutions. Made-to-measure shelving, platforms and mezzanines provide additional storage space for stackable plastic bins and large holiday displays. Made-to-measure garage shelving can be installed high on a back or side wall. Made-to-measure platforms provide additional vertical storage space high on a back wall. Tall garages with lots of wasted overhead space can accommodate made-to-measure mezzanines which provide considerable storage for holiday décor and other seasonal items rarely accessed.
Need additional storage space in your garage for seasonal items? Request a consultation with a garage renovation specialist and discover how Garage Tailors Garage can transform wasted vertical space into functional, attractive storage space.