The holidays are here - time to channel your inner Clark Griswold and decorate with outdoor lights, inflatables and yard art. The most spectacular displays all have one thing in common: electricity. And that means extension cords. Lots of extension cords.
With that in mind, here are a few safety tips:
When not in use keep your cords and lights properly stored! We have an article in Cords 101 that highlights different ways to store extension cords. The bottom line is that once you're done with a cord you should wrap or coil it in a manner similar to how it came when you bought it. Then hang it somewhere safe. Before you use it again, inspect the cord for any cracks in the outer jacket/insulation or exposed wires. If you see any signs of damage, don't use the cord. It's time for a new one.
We shouldn't have to say this but here goes: Extension cords and water do not mix! Keep that in mind as you design your holiday display. Does a particular spot in your yard collect water or snow? Don't use extension cords there. Likewise, don't use them near hot tubs, pools, ponds, etc.
Make sure outdoor extension cords are plugged into GFCI-equipped outlets. If your outlets aren't GFCI protected, we recommend extension cords with inline GFCI units for the critical protection they provide.
Don't let your cords overheat! As electricity passes through an extension cord it generates heat. Without proper ventilation, a cord can overheat and cause a fire hazard. To avoid this, extension cords should remain uncovered whenever they're in use. This means you shouldn't run them under carpets, over ceilings, through walls, etc.
Use extension cords in bright, neon colors to minimize tripping hazards. Bad Ass Industrial Grade Extension Cords are available in 8 high visibility colors. Just in time for the holidays, our vibrant reds and greens really stand out against snow and ice. Because they're to easy to see, people are less likely to trip over them and fall. The bright colors also make them easier to find when you need to. (Like when it's time to pick them up and put them away.)
Which brings us to our last tip:
Extension cords are for temporary use only. Since we're talking about holiday displays, we assume you'll dismantle everything and properly store it away. Never substitute an extension cord when permanent wiring is required. In such a case a licensed electrician should be consulted about ways to wire areas where permanent power is required.