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Holiday Decorating tips
Episode 143926th November 2022 • Around the House® Home Improvement: Expert Advice for your Home • Eric Goranson
00:00:00 00:40:39

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It is that time of year and this weekend is one of the biggest holiday decorating weekends of the year. We talk about some of the new tools that you can use to hang those Christmas lights and some of the tips to make it a little bit safer. There are even some smart tech tools you can use to control those lights so you can set them and forget them.

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Transcripts

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[00:00:22] Eric Goranson: Is putting the garland on that stair banister, it can look really cool. It can get in the way of safety. The last thing I want to do is to see grandma going upstairs to use the bathroom over the holidays. She grabs a hold of that, can't get her hand around that railing, and then all of a sudden, She's sliding, slip and falling, and uh, we got a broken hip.

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[00:01:05] Eric Goranson: Can't believe it's Thanksgiving weekend. Black Friday. Sales are going out there. Everybody's having a crazy good time out there. We are knee deep in the holiday season. And first, if you wanna get ahold of us here at the show, make sure you can head over to around the house online.com. Or if you're listening on the radio, you can always catch us on the podcast or any other social media channel out there.

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[00:01:42] Eric Goranson: So there's a lot of things when it comes down to putting up, we're just gonna call 'em Christmas lights today cuz that's what they're most generally known as. Not trying to offend anybody out there. And if not, well we're talking Christmas lights. Here's the thing, one of the biggest problems I see and questions that I get this time of [00:02:00] year is I have had the lights plugged in, they're plugged into the wall, and now I have no power.

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[00:02:32] Eric Goranson: Now, one thing that I'll tell you, GFCs are a wearable part. Sometimes if it's a cheap one, five years, it's a good one. You can get 15 out of 'em. But many times by the 10 year mark, they trip really easily and it's something to take a look at. Now, if it's a newer home, it could behave an a fault or something like that.

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[00:03:11] Eric Goranson: One of the biggest ones that I've seen running that extension cord under your garage door, maybe even through a window garage. Guys, I can tell you what it's going to be a problem. I had a family friend felt so bad about it, has his collector cars in the garage. He didn't unfortunately have insurance on these three cars, and he had an extension cord going underneath the garage door.

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[00:03:58] Eric Goranson: That's where you can run into [00:04:00] some serious problems. So let's talk about cords a little bit here too. Now you need to get the right size cord. If you're using L e D lights, it doesn't take much, but that doesn't mean you go out and use those. You know ungrounded lamp cords. Can I tell you how many times I saw people when I was into the big box store this last weekend, getting some Christmas lights, clips from my house?

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[00:04:43] Eric Goranson: You know, if you just gotta extend a lamp out, it's one thing, but that is not meant for an exterior application by any means. That's how somebody gets hurt. So just make sure with that, The right thing here is that when you're looking at these things, get the right [00:05:00] length of exterior cord. And then one of the things that I do before I even get the lights up there is I have a way to switch that off and on.

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[00:05:26] Eric Goranson: So I'm not gonna go over and spend the time on that. But what do I do? I have one of those Lutron smart outdoor plugins. It's great. So it looks like a, a little, you know, eight inch plugin that goes right into my outlet Christmas lights plug in the other side. And it is a smart switch, so it goes under my smart home stuff.

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[00:06:05] Eric Goranson: You can set it up so it shuts off every night. But for me, I can go dust it on and keep it though, so I have a little more light out there. Works out really well and it's automatic, super easy. Set it up once and I could forget. And that makes it really easy. So much better than those regular outdoor timers that you used to have where you had to set the little pins and stuff on 'em.

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[00:06:42] Eric Goranson: Uh, I saw this one at Home Depot and I wanted to try it out. So it is a pole and a clip that says you don't have to get up on the ladder to hang your Christmas lights. And then, ah, 30 bucks. Let's give it a shot. I'm gonna give it a C because that clip system that [00:07:00] you see, it's a red pole. Not gonna get into brand names cuz it's not a commercial for them.

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[00:07:29] Eric Goranson: I'll tell you what, I would be struggling if I was trying to do my second story gutters in a lot of my area because I only have gutters on certain sides. Only about half of my house has those gutters, and so it worked out pretty well across the front of my garage. But on the rest of the stuff, not a chance.

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[00:08:14] Eric Goranson: Jingle around to get that thing snapped in there. Not as easy. So it's um, there's gotta be a better system out there that is not. That's something to think about, you know? And make sure too, that when you're doing these lights, and we're gonna talk about this more, but this year I put in new Christmas lights because they had about four years on 'em, and for the price of lights out there at four years, I just kind of decided to change 'em out and do an upgrade because, It's cheaper and they end up looking better.

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[00:09:05] Eric Goranson: So make sure that you don't keep those up. I've seen too many people out there that keep 'em up year after year, and if you didn't go out and spend a thousand bucks on those things and get the commercial ones, that could be a huge problem. I wanna see you burn the house down. This is, uh, the thing that we're not trying to do this year is to do that.

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[00:09:43] Eric Goranson: All right, we come back. We'll have more of around the house just as soon as we return. Be loud. Be so hot.[00:10:00]

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[00:10:24] Eric Goranson: I wanted to talk this segment about ladder safety cuz it's an important one and. There's some cool applications out there now. I really like using the right ladder for the job. What I mean by that is not standing on the place that says do not step. I know I'm done it myself. Guilty is charged, but it's something you gotta be really careful with because I know people, heck, I had a buddy, I was over helping him in his, uh, his house, sitting there trimming some bushes, and, uh, he's about 10 years older than me.

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[00:11:09] Eric Goranson: And if you've got that big extension ladder out, there's some easy answers that really make it easy and it's awesome. There is an app for your phone. Ladder safety. It's the NAO N I O S H, ladder Safety app. And here's what's cool that it gives you tips on the ladder. You can actually set your phone on the rung of the ladder and it's going to tell you if you have it at the right angle or not.

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[00:11:52] Eric Goranson: And you've got some sketchy places to do it. There's kind of three ways that'll help you do that one well, that's the easy one. Hire [00:12:00] somebody to come do it, let them deal with it. Number two is I have gone over to my local tool, rental place and rented one of the, um, lifts and I've actually lifted the lift up and put up there and rode the lift up and put 'em up.

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[00:12:34] Eric Goranson: It's a pretty smart way to go, is to sit there when you're getting that roof put on or, and do it even after the fact. Put in some fall protection device hooks. Get those dialed in, get that ready to go. Because here's the cool thing with that. If you go in there and put those safety hooks in, and they're pretty easy to get, you can buy 'em as one big.

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[00:13:06] Eric Goranson: Uh, it's something I'm gonna do mine one of these days because it's just easy. And uh, when I put the new roof on, it's gonna be one of those things. I'm gonna throw those up to those guys and say, while you're at it, put it in and that way it's gonna keep. Save when I'm up on that roof cuz the last thing I need to do is get hurt, then I can't be doing this show.

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[00:13:41] Eric Goranson: If something stupid happened, wind blows the ladder over. Something goofy happens. You have somebody to assist. Or worse, if you get yourself in a bad situation or hurt, they can actually call the ambulance, call nine one one for you in case something bad happens. Now, there are some other cool little things out there when you're working on stuff, and I [00:14:00] like this, like my Apple Watch for instance.

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[00:14:27] Eric Goranson: Again, stupid stuff happens. I've fallen off six foot step ladders before shouldn't happen, but it happens. So just make sure that you're doing it correctly and that's gonna keep you safe. That's gonna be one of those things you can do and make sure out there that it's that grass. It's having a good ladder, and make sure that you're on up that ladder, that you're not overloading that ladder.

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[00:15:15] Eric Goranson: So they can sit there and get to the point where they're gonna fail prematurely beyond their rating. That's why a lot of companies you see, I mean, I've got a really nice ladder here that. I think it was Verizon or one of those guys, they, every couple, two or three years, they swapped their ladders out and put new ones in, get new safety stuff for 'em.

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[00:15:49] Eric Goranson: And it was good for me cuz I got a great super heavy duty ladder with all the cool accessories on it and it was a great way to go. But other than that I do not like to buy ladders off of, used off of [00:16:00] other places. I know this one was in good shape cuz it was on my buddy's truck and I know he took care of it.

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[00:16:26] Eric Goranson: And so as you're walking up, if you're not careful in how you walk, it's gonna feel like it's, uh, you're walking up a wet noodle up there and it's not as comfortable as a regular extension ladder. So just make sure you're good on that. It'll keep you. A lot safer actually. So here's a couple things too that I want to talk about with this, and it's gonna come back to, we've talked about ladder safety here, and it's gonna come down to cord safety as well.

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[00:17:12] Eric Goranson: And that's the cool part about that, is that we'll actually work out really well and it keeps it outta the water. So if you don't have a plug that's sitting. In a puddle of water. If you get that rain or that quick melting snow, it's gonna be a safe way as well. So keep all those cords and lights off the grass or off the landscaping and it's gonna help you there as well.

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[00:17:48] Eric Goranson: I've seen, uh, snow come down like that and all of a sudden it slides off the roof and guess what? It takes? The, the lights off with it or even the gutters because now it's got teeth sticking up and if you put [00:18:00] really good clips, I've seen it loosen the gutters up and that's a big hot mess. And then the other problem you run into too is some of the gutter covers make it very hard to use some of these clips with.

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[00:18:27] Eric Goranson: We'll do that just as soon as the.[00:19:00]

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[00:19:25] Eric Goranson: So we're gonna talk more about this in the future. But, uh, you're gonna see so much more information coming out. It's gonna be really exciting. We're gonna have a one hour TV show each and every week. It'll air starting out here in Portland, Oregon, and it's gonna be stream. And we'll have all these different segments from new products.

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[00:20:00] Eric Goranson: We're gonna have, uh, where you, if you want to, can actually send a video. And, uh, show me what you got and we'll be able to answer those questions. So as soon as we get a little closer here, we will open that up first of the year, so you can maybe even next month here, let's see what happens. We'll get that set up so you can sit there and submit those questions and I'm gonna answer 'em.

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[00:20:43] Eric Goranson: But also be careful with some finishes with tapes and adhesive. You know, putting something on a cabinet, putting something on a piece of furniture, put something on some paint someplace, it can do some damage. So be very careful. What you're doing and where you're doing it, they do [00:21:00] make clips for a lot of this stuff and just make sure that you're not kinking stuff or damaging that surface that you're working on.

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[00:21:26] Eric Goranson: So support it, hang it, do the right stuff with that, because, uh, if you, you know, it's still a light. If you sit there and pinch that light, that, uh, wire, you can still damage it. So be very, very careful with it. And there's ways too, if you're worried about those plugins getting wet, you can sit there. I've seen people, uh, get pretty creative with, uh, putting in.

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[00:22:06] Eric Goranson: I tell you what, more homes get burned down from people way overloading those plug extensions where you got like three into one or even worse. Loading way too much stuff up on a power strip. So I've seen some people burn their house down because they were using an old power strip or didn't use, you know, they put just.

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[00:22:50] Eric Goranson: Now, one of the things too, as I want you to be careful with is be careful what you are Decorat. Moving parts, stringing up things. [00:23:00] Be very careful. I don't wanna see stuff. If you're getting out there really crazy with stuff, you know, national Lampoons vacation, I know people that have done the Christmas vacation homes and this is where you really gotta be careful cuz I've seen people have to bring in a separate 200 amp service so they could do their Christmas.

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[00:23:47] Eric Goranson: I'm not gonna do that to my neighbors, even though I've kind of done some stuff in the past. Not that crazy, but be very careful. And then here's the other thing. I see some people out there decorating their [00:24:00] vehicles. For Christmas and the holidays, you know, and I think it's adorable. It's one thing if you're doing a holiday parade, right?

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[00:24:29] Eric Goranson: No need getting pulled over for having the wrong color lights on your car. They can get you on that. So be very, very careful with what you're doing there. And it's one thing for a parade, but if you're out cruising around and you got literally have Christmas lights bouncing around, it can be a problem.

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[00:24:59] Eric Goranson: So be [00:25:00] very careful. So make sure that you've got things protected and you're not damaging stuff. And then of course with that, you have to keep everything dry so you don't have a serious problem because, uh, heavy, heavy rain in the car, you could have some problems there. We don't wanna see you shorten things out in the car, kicking off that outlet and causing other problems as you're running around.

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[00:25:44] Eric Goranson: Be very, very careful with that and maybe like children. Need to keep those lights up off it. So maybe that pre-coated tree isn't the best. And you're right, I have a tree that I'm gonna get rid of this year because of a puppy over the last couple years that's been sitting out there. [00:26:00] We got a new tree sitting in a box here.

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[00:26:24] Eric Goranson: So this is one of those really cool things and I don't wanna see anybody getting shocked out there, cuz that can end up being a big deal. Now one of the other tips that I do, When we're doing lights like this, and maybe this is something you do or, or it's just a thing that I do is as I'm putting the lights out, I go out there and I plug 'em in first.

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[00:27:03] Eric Goranson: With LEDs, it's not like something's gonna be burned out. Usually with an LED it usually means it got damaged. And so that's the time that if I don't have an extra one of those, guess what, that's when those things get tossed because it's just time to let 'em go. And, uh, it was funny when I was in, uh, uh, I think it was in Home Depot buying lights the other day, they wanted me to buy.

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[00:27:38] Eric Goranson: Anyways, just be careful on that stuff. But again, make sure those extension cords are good. Make sure that you've got things plugged in and make sure that they're in good condition because I wanna fix 'em when they're on the. Not when they're up. And then when I'm putting 'em up, it's maybe not the safest, but I always put 'em up when they're, when the power's on.

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[00:28:13] Eric Goranson: So be very careful. And again, I didn't do my Christmas lights the week before because it was too windy out there. It was way too windy. I wasn't getting on that roof for the 25 mile an hour wind because the last thing I wanna do is become a sale. All right around the house. We'll be back to wrap up this segment just as soon as around the house returns.

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[00:29:00] Eric Goranson: welcome back to the Round the House Show. Now we've been talking Decorat. Christmas, let's bring it inside a little bit here and talk about some safety stuff as well and, uh, some, maybe some alternatives to make it a little bit safer for you. Now, one of the ones that always bugs me is we'll talk, you know, Christmas tree safety here in a little bit.

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[00:29:44] Eric Goranson: So be very careful how you do it. I don't like to really wrap it around the top of what the handrail would be. I'd much rather attach it kind of on the bottom of that and go on the outside of it. So it looks really good that way. But just be very careful. That [00:30:00] old school way of doing it was great, but it can also get in the way of safety.

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[00:30:24] Eric Goranson: Attach it carefully, you know, with some clips or some, uh, wire. Do not, um, do not use staples. Do not use any of that other stuff and just be very careful. Sometimes zip ties can do it where you're not hurting the wood or the garland and that stuff, but that's one way to do it. Be very careful with that.

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[00:31:03] Eric Goranson: And if that is hanging down, you could have a fire there, let alone, if you're putting across the top of that, maybe some. If it's a wood burning fireplace, if you've got, uh, real garland up there or you've got something made out of pine trees, that can be a big problem as well. So nothing flammable over there.

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[00:31:37] Eric Goranson: You know, by the exits of the room there. We've talked about that in previous episodes. Make sure you got that as well as the Christmas tree itself, making sure that you come in. I just saw last week somebody cruising around the tree on top and it was way too warm. And I'm like, man, that is going to be a fire hazard.

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[00:32:12] Eric Goranson: Make sure that stuff, if you gotta block off the heat duct, block it off. But just realize it's gonna change how that room heats by doing that. And again, just make sure we've got that stuff dialed in. That's a big deal when it comes to that. So I wanna make sure that we've got that in a. And happy place for it, because this is supposed to be a great time of year, not one that you're firing that insurance claim with.

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[00:32:53] Eric Goranson: One way I've done that's made that a lot harder to do. Is I have gone through in [00:33:00] the past and gotten some nice metal cable with a lock green. If you can find it, black works too, and you can tie all those things together where you run it through it so it's hard to run off with it. And then I attach 'em all together.

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[00:33:41] Eric Goranson: And they'll probably, as they go, run it off. When that thing catches on the tree or the fence post or whatever, it's gonna grab their attention cuz it's probably gonna drop 'em cuz they got their arms. So make sure you got a video camera on that too, that could be worth 10,000 bucks on America's Funniest Home Video.

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[00:34:14] Eric Goranson: So porch pirates at my house aren't an issue. But, um, make sure there's, there's a couple different options for you. Like, for instance, if you've got a Chamberlain garage door opener, one of the new smart ones over the last few years, the cool thing you can do with that is you can set it up where Amazon can actually open up via their app and, and through another app to, they can open the garage door and slide packages underneath it, which is really cool.

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[00:34:58] Eric Goranson: It looked like it was underneath a, uh, [00:35:00] a little table thing. And actually it wasn't the table, it was just a mirror that was grabbing the wall next to it, but it looked like it was just a table, that it was actually a box you could put the package in there. So that worked out really well. And there's a lot of different ways to.

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[00:35:41] Eric Goranson: Then, uh, could be kinda interesting. You could be catching somebody that's out there stealing from your neighborhood and that's always a good thing. And then, uh, security wise, couple things. We've talked about this in the past, but I wanna make sure we touch on it again in this last segment. Make sure that you got those lights on late so when you come home for maybe that Christmas party or anything else, [00:36:00] you're in the door safe.

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[00:36:23] Eric Goranson: So I just want you to be careful and make sure you got that dialed in. There's a lot of great security systems out there and it always seems like people are getting theft. Around the holidays, but you know, it's, it's on average typically that, it's not like more during this time of year. But the fun part is, is that, uh, we get those crazy people out there that are trying to raise a little bit more money for the holidays or it's cold, or they're, you know, they're, they're using more heat and, uh, you know, there's a lot of people out there that are, that are ripping people off.

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[00:37:25] Eric Goranson: If you're thinking about your dishwashers barely going, guess what? That's a great place to go get those new Block Friday deals because, uh, dishwashers. Power tools. I mean, uh, home Depot is blowing out some big kits over there, the Ryobi, uh, whether it's uh, outdoor power equipment or tool sets. There's a lot of that.

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[00:38:11] Eric Goranson: I tell you what those are the deals out there cuz you can get a set of that, a nice tool set for a hundred bucks and it's a sweet heart deal as well as in stock appliances cuz I tell you what, there is a ton of that out there, so make sure you grab the right stuff. And there's also, uh, everything from security lights to uh, ladders.

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[00:38:49] Eric Goranson: Uh, I think even Home Depot's got a, uh, buy, get two free select power tools when you buy one kind of thing. So there's a lot of great deals out there. For five, 600 bucks you can load [00:39:00] yourself. Some power tools. Same thing goes for, um, our DeWalt fans out there as well. There's a lot of great deals out there, especially storage stuff, so keep your eye out on the tools guys.

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[00:39:24] Eric Goranson: Thanks for listening to About the House.