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Save the Neck for Me, Clark.

Electrician tips for a safe holiday season.

In National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation,” Clark W. Griswold set the bar high for holiday decorations. With 25,000 imported Italian incandescent twinkling lights stapled to his roof and siding, neighbors were fortunate to be able to admire his handiwork from a mile away. Here at Badger Bob’s Services, we enjoy a good joke – especially when it has to do with A/C, electrical, plumbing and appliances. While Clark’s antics were all fun to watch and gave us a good laugh, he made some pretty risky lighting mistakes that still make our team of electricians cringe.

Let’s take a look at some of Clark W. Griswold’s most egregious errors in holiday home decorating and what our pros recommend you do instead.

The tangled mass of incandescent bulbs.

When it was time to take the holiday lights out of storage, Clark encountered a tangled mass of lights – which had to be untangled and checked. See, back in the day, one bad bulb would knock out the whole string of lights. You had to check every light bulb to find the one that was burned out and replace it. This is one of many reasons why we recommend LED lights. New LED lights are much more efficient and won’t cost you as much in the long run. Plus, they do not require a lot of maintenance, so the previous issues are a thing of the past. We’ll touch more on LED lights when we talk about…

25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights.

As we mentioned earlier, Clark’s home lit up the neighborhood – but at a cost, literally. LED lights are cheaper to run. Also, they don’t get hot like incandescent bulbs, so they are safer to have on your house and around your Christmas tree. And they do not use as much energy as those 25,000 incandescent lights on the Griswold home – keeping your electric bill down. Simply, if you aren’t using LED, then your spectacular light show will cost you a pretty penny.

Stapling lights to the roof.

Clark’s afternoon of using a stapler to attach lights to the roof ended up with him stapling himself to the shingles and falling into a bush. While this is a dangerous and unwise thing to do, it may not be for the reasons you think. Not only will staples damage your roof and potentially lead to leaks, but you could also puncture the lights. One staple misfire can ruin an entire strand of lights – or cause a fire hazard with exposed wires. So, put down the staple gun and pick up some holiday light clips.

Overloading the outlets.

It is a good idea to not overload any outlet or power strip with too many plugs. Each breaker of your home can supply about 15 amps of electricity. If you exceed what the circuit can handle, you can cause your breaker to trip, power outages and even electrical fires in some cases. Also, it is not safe to run multiple extension cords from inside of your home through a window to power an outdoor feature or to string multiple cords together. If you are going to use an exterior outlet, make sure it’s GFCI and has the proper cover. If your GFCI outlet does get wet, it cuts off the power immediately. It’s best to let a certified electrician install these features and test them to ensure they function properly.

The Badger Bottom Line

National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” is a holiday favorite that’s good for laughs but bad for decorating inspiration. In fact, it might be safe to say that Clark Griswold shows you what not to do when hanging Christmas lights. Here at Badger Bob’s Services, we want you – and your house – to make it through the season healthy, happy and safe. That means following our tips above for ensuring your lights don’t light a fire or cause any other damage. If you have any questions or need to schedule A/C, plumbing, appliances or electrical service or inspection for your home, simply visit us at www.badgerbobs.com!