Outdoor Holiday Decorations – Laying out Power Cords

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 38,833
    Kraig Ware, Founder and Chief Designer of LiteScapes, demonstrates how to decorate your home or business using holiday lights to make the season festive including how to lay out your power cords.

    Kraig Ware: Hello! I am Kraig Ware, with Christmas decor of Greater Richmond, here today to show you how to decorate your home or business for the Christmas season. Right now, I am going to show you how to layout your power which is the number one thing that you can do to make sure that your system runs safely and durably throughout the holiday season.

    First of all, you've got to find the receptacles. Now, you've got to keep in mind as you design your holiday lighting system, the power that you are going to put on that particular receptacle. Every receptacle that's outside should have a GFI which is called a Ground Fault Interrupter. Now, on the receptacle, you are going to notice a little small button that you can push that button and test it and push it and reset it. You've got to make sure it has that one.

    Now, in some homes and even businesses, that Ground Fault Interrupter is not at the receptacle, is actually at the point of your breaker box or sometimes it could be in a power room or in a kitchen throughout the house somewhere. So make sure you have that before you do any outdoor lighting whatsoever. That's going to be a huge safety concern for you and your family.

    Secondly, as you run your extension chords throughout the property that you are designing, make sure that you do a couple of things. Number one, make sure you keep your connections off the ground, and what that's going to do is make sure as water puddles or extreme amount of drainage comes off of a particular slope, that's going to keep those connections out of being submerged in water. Now, everything you use, parallel chord wise should be UL rated for outdoor use. I have seen a lot of home owners make big mistakes by using indoor rated chords which is very dangerous and not good for you.

    So make sure you use outdoor rated UL chords only. Also, those connections, keeping them out of the ground, a lot of home owners typically want to tape that connection over, and over, and over again to seal it up nice and tight. Don't do that. All the stuffs rated to be outside. All you want to do is to secure those chords. The purpose of taping the connections is to make sure that the chords don't come unplugged, not to keep out water. If you get a real tight seal with tape, you are going to create a green house effect and that is going to actually draw moisture to that point contact which is actually going short out your lighting system.

    Overall, as you move your extension chords around your property, as you go under doorways, stairways, walkways anywhere where there is going to be full traffic, especially in a business. Make sure that you properly tag those chords down to make sure that we're not causing any pedestrians to trip or fall. The final thing in your power that I want to bring out is to make sure you get a good durable timer. That timer needs to be rated for 15 amps.

    Now, that's something most of you folks may not know about, but I want you to take that box when you're buying the timer, flip it over and make sure it's ready for outdoor use and it's 15 amps. Preferably a system that is digitally backed up, meaning that if the power goes down, that clock is going to remember the times that you have set. It's smart enough to know that when the power comes back up, should utilize power, it knows your light should be on or off. Stay away from the little numeric timers. They are not really rated for outdoor use, plus if power goes down, your lighting system is going to be off that amount of hours that your system was down.

    So that's the big thing to remember about outdoor lighting. It's all going to come back to power. Doesn't matter if a light bulb goes off if you don't have any power to power it with. That's some safety tips for you to use as you lay out your power. Next, we are going to show you how to do C9s on the roof to make a dynamic impact.