Throughout the holiday season, approximately 200 people per day suffer injuries related to holiday decorating gone awry. With this in mind, we thought we would share some safety tips for hanging holiday lights on your roof. After all, who knows more about roof safety than your local roofer?
Safety is Key
Before you climb up on the roof, test your lights to make sure they’re working. Replace any blown bulbs and do not use any light strands that have visible damage to reduce the risk of an electrical fire.
Plan to decorate your home on a clear day, when no rain or snow is forecast; these could make the roof slippery. Set up your ladder on level ground. Secure the ladder to your home if possible, so it will not shift when you are climbing. A ladder stabilizer can help stabilize the top of the ladder while distributing weight evenly, to reduce the risk of ladder shift.
If you’re walking on the roof, pay attention to the roof edge at all times. It’s possible to forget where the edge is and fall off the roof, risking serious injuries.
Don’t Use Nails
Instead of nails, which create holes in the roof where water can leak through, use gutter clips or hooks to attach your lights. You’ll find an assortment of clips to hang lights at your local hardware store.
If you use nails, water will pass beneath the roof shingles, which can degrade them. This creates a safety hazard going forward, and could lead to a roofing accident in subsequent years.
Plug in Your Lights
After you’ve hung your lights, plug them in to test it out. If the lights trip the circuit breaker, you’ve got too much power plugged into one source. This represents a fire hazard. Redistribute the light among outlets to cut your risk of a roof fire.
Get Your Roof Inspected
If you’re worried about getting up on the roof to hang holiday lights, have the roof inspected. This will give you peace of mind that everything is in good shape, so you’re set to proceed with your lighting. A roofing inspection can also estimate your roof’s remaining lifespan so you can plan for replacement before you need it.