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Weatherproof Your Outdoor Holiday Decorations

Make sure your lights and more make it through the holidays

 

 Keep Shining:

Buying items rated for exterior use is just the first step. Here’s how to hang them to withstand all that Mother Nature dishes out.
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* Wind:

Protect light strands from strong gusts by securing them with plastic zip ties (about $5 for 100) or reusable light clips (about $10 for 100) spaced every 12 inches. For a ground display, pick wire-frame sculptures over decor made of painted wood so that wind passes through; drive their stakes the entire length—ideally, 6 to 8 inches—into the ground.

* Snow and Rain:

Moisture and electricity don’t mix. A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) prevents shorts—and shocks—and most city regulations require their use with outdoor lighting; portable units cost under $30. Cover the male and female ends of light strands with electrical tape or encase them in plastic freezer bags to help keep water out.

* Ice:

If rain- or snow-covered decorations freeze over, it could be lights out for your display. To allow moisture to evaporate before it turns to ice, position the connections between light strands in a way that lets air circulate around them. For lights hung on trees, use electrical tape to secure connectors to the trunk a few feet above the ground to keep them out of runoff that might pond there.
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By GILLIAN BARTHTHIS OLD HOUSE MAGAZINE

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