A Stern Warning about String Lights

July 18, 2018 1:51 pm Published by

Running a web of string lights over the top of your outdoor pool may seem like a stylish way to brighten up the night and fill a big and empty space. But this trendy idea, you might find on decorating websites and Pinterest pages, carries more risks than rewards.

“String lights are not meant to be installed over water,” writes Michael Stinson, owner of Folsom’s Mike the Poolman pool cleaning and maintenance service¹. “Someone just came up with this idea, posted a photo and homeowners are now following suit. Be smart, don’t do it!”

Stinson warns the 120-volt current running through a set of string lights could kill someone who’s swimming in the pool or standing near it should the decorations or the wires they’re connected to fall in the water. He said, “plugging string lights into an outlet equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter might reduce this risk by shutting off the current” but cautioned “these devices can fail at any time”.

Beyond this electrocution risk, Stinson said, “hanging string lights over a pool keeps people from throwing beach balls or other toys in the air around it, and that cuts down on the amount of fun they can have.” He also said that if they break, “these decorations can make cleaning the pool a lot harder, and nobody wants that to happen.”

Here are a few tips you should follow if you want to make your pool a fun and safe place for your family and everyone else who comes by your home²:

  • Never leave children unattended in or near water.
  • Teach children how to swim.
  • Teach children to stay away from the pool’s drains and make sure every pool and spa has a Consumer Product Safety Commission compliant drain cover.
  • Install barriers, covers, and gates with alarms around your pool to keep small children from entering the water without your knowledge.
  • Learn how to perform CPR and basic first aid on children and adults (Click here to find a course in your area.)

Want to learn more about pool safety and how this feature – which is considered an “attractive nuisance” – can affect your homeowners’ insurance rates? Call Mennonite Insurance today at 559-638-2327 or e-mail mennonite@mennoniteinsurance.com.


  1. “Five reasons string lights over your swimming pool are a bad idea,” Mike the Poolman
  2. “Safety Tips,” PoolSafely.gov
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