If you want the outside of your home to be the brightest and most decorated during the holiday season, you're among many friends. Each year, people set out to decorate their home with lights, animations and other holiday décor items that require electricity. If you're taking on this project for the first time, learn these electrical safety tips, so that your version of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" won't pose a fire hazard.

Locate the Outlets

Find out where all the outlets are located on the exterior of your home. Use this information to plan your design. Check that all outlets are operational with a non-contact multi-meter.

Purchase extension cords coded for outdoor use only, and ensure that you can run them in area where standing water or snow won't cover them.

Inspect All Decorations                                      

Check all electrical decorations for cracks on the plugs, and bare wires. If you notice any, purchase new decorations because the ones you have could pose a fire hazard.

Plug in all lights and decorations, new and used, to check for blown bulbs. If you find any, unplug the lights and replace the bulbs.

When purchasing new light strings and decorations, check for the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label, indicating that the product is rated for safety.  

Stay Away From Power Lines

Set up your lights and decorations while paying close attention to any power lines running to your home or over the roof. Keep your decorations far away from these lines so that in case of lightning, your decorations don't take a hit because they are in close proximity to the power lines.

Limit Light Connections

Plug as many as three strings of lights together on one circuit. Plugging in more than this can trip the circuit breakers and cause a fire. It's fine to run three strings to one plug and then run three more consecutive strings to the top plug on the same outlet.  

Choose LED Lights

Design your holiday decorations with LED lights. These lights provide a soft glow and burn cooler than regular Christmas lights. Less heat means a reduced risk of fire.

Plan your outdoor holiday decorating designs carefully, so you'll know what you need to purchase, and your family can rest easy, knowing there's no fire danger. Call an electrician, from a company like Alpine Electrical Construction LLC, if you run into any issues along the way, or if you need additional outlets installed to create the design of your dreams.