Here at Bluebird Construction, we’re all about keeping you safe by offering you enticing prices on roof repair, gutter repair, and new siding. We really want to keep you off the ladder so that there’s no chance that you’ll get injured trying to fix your roof or gutter. (In fact, we recently wrote a blog with many reasons you shouldn’t try to tackle roof or gutter repairs yourself.)
But we know that there are times when many of you will be up on a ladder, and the most common is when hanging holiday lights. So we thought we’d offer some advice on the best ways to stay safe when hanging lights and other decorations this time of year.
Have a Spotter
There’s really no reason to go about your holiday decorating alone. Why not have someone around who can make it a bit safer: a spotter.
When we say spotter, we’re not talking about someone like Andre the Giant who can catch you as you fall. We’re simply talking about someone who can hold the ladder to keep it from sliding or to steady it if the person hanging the light finds themselves wobbling. They can also help you spot any hazards that are more easily visible from below and point out the next light hook if you can’t see it from a higher angle.
Keep the Ladder Level
Here’s something that comes directly from the world of roofing: keep the ladder level.
Sometimes there are things in the way of where you want to hang lights and your current ladder position just won’t do it. For instance, there might be bushes that have grown up in front of the porch, and that’s exactly where you want to put the lights. Some people might try to put the ladder on the gravel instead of the concrete, and you can guess how that’s a bad idea. Others might attempt to put the feet of the ladder too far away from the roof, which could cause it to slip and send someone crashing to the ground. It’s really not worth risking your physical well-being just to get those next strands a little bit straighter.
Of course, when the ladder won’t work, some people try something even more dangerous. So we should tell you, please…
Don’t Lean Over the Side
There are two big problems that come together when people lean over the side of a roof in order to hang lights. First of all, squatting down (or bending over or being on one knee) isn’t exactly a position that most of us find ourselves in every day, and it’s not a position in which we’re most steady…especially on a slanted roof. Add to that any sway or sense of vertigo as you look over the edge and you could find yourself plummeting to the ground. Suddenly it makes sense why you shouldn’t get up on the roof and lean over!
Don’t Use A Staple Gun
You can probably guess why not, but we thought we’d better put it on the list. A staple can go through a strand, cutting it and exposing it to the elements. Lights that were once waterproof now aren’t, so even if you don’t notice any problems right away, you could be seeing electrical danger when it starts to rain. And speaking of water…
Watch Out For Water
While we might not get that much snow around here, we still get our fair share of rain. In fact, you won’t be surprised to know that Mt. Juliet and the surrounding area get about 20 inches more rainfall every year than the national average.
If you notice that the water is pooling on your roof or that it’s coming from any place other than the gutters, your first thought is probably “I’m not going to put the lights right there.” Good choice! The second thing you should be thinking is that you should call for roof repair, because water shouldn’t be pooling anywhere. Likewise, the water coming down in any other way than the gutters might mean you need gutter repair. Be sure to give us a call and we’ll take care of that for you.
Read The Directions
Maybe you’re not an instruction reader, we get it. And what’s there to know about Christmas lights besides you plug them in and they light up?
It’s still a good idea to check out the safety instruction on the lights. One of the most common mistakes that people make is to use indoor lights outdoors. Another problem that shows up is when people try to string too many strands together, which could be a fire hazard. Be sure to give those instructions a glance so that you don’t end up with an electrical fire.
Watch Out For Your Siding
If your siding is old, you certainly want to be careful when moving your ladder around near it. Banging a ladder is certainly one way to crack it, especially when the temperatures are colder. You might want to put some sort of rubber stopper on the end of your ladder or something that distributes the weight over a wider area.
If you do end up cracking your siding, don’t be too worried; it’s likely it was about time to replace it anyway. We can provide you with siding repair or new siding replacement so that your house is ready for the coming seasons in the years to come. You do want to get it taken care of before it starts to rain, though.
You know what, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t just hire someone to take care of your lights. That way you’re not putting yourself at risk, and a professional could probably take care of it better than you could. They’ll be on the roof and on the ladder, they have means of protecting your siding, and you won’t have to read the safety warning on the lights!
It’s important, though, that you make sure that they are licensed and insured. Just like when you hire a roofing contractor (or any contractor, for that matter) it’s important to be sure that you are protected if the holiday light hanger should fall or get shocked.
We know very well that hanging the lights is a tradition for many people, and that many of you are simply interested in taking care of them yourself. Just remember, though, that just because you didn’t fall last time you tried to “walk” the ladder doesn’t mean that you won’t be spending the holiday in the hospital if your patented technique doesn’t work this year. Be safe this holiday season!