Christmas lights have always and will always be an essential part of holiday decorating. Making our homes cheerful and inviting with festive decorations and lighting is customary for most families. While they are awe-inspiring to look at, they come with many hazards, so we must take the proper precautions with them. Here are 10 Tips to ensure your home is protected and your family has a happy and safe holiday:
- Use LED instead of incandescent lights
- LED lights emit very little heat (should not be warm to the touch) as opposed to incandescent lights and they will also cost you less and last you longer! Did you know they actually use 90% less energy?
- Indoor and outdoor lights are not the same
- Indoor lights are not moisture resistant like outdoor lights are, and create a potential hazard in wet winter weather. If you are unsure of what you have, it may be time for the ole “out with the old, in with the new”
- Do not overload an outlet with multiple light strands
- Three strands or fewer are the suggested amount that should be plugged in at one time. It is easy to reach the maximum watt capacity of the house circuit if you are not mindful of this. To avoid the risk of an electrical fire, you may also consider using a power strip with a built-in circuit breaker rather than the wall outlet.
- Replace old lights regularly
- Old holiday lights can often be unsafe. Newer lights have fused plugs to prevent sparks in the event of a short circuit. Replace broken bulbs right away (with the strand unplugged) to avoid any overheating, just be sure the bulbs are the same type as the originals. Touch the bulbs and wires every so often to check for overheating.
- Be mindful of where you are placing extension cords
- Be sure not to run extension cords along through-ways, especially escape routes/doors. Extension cords should never be in a place that may be surrounded by pools of melted snow or rain. An additional layer of protections would be using surge protectors to minimize hazard in the case of a voltage mishap.
- Christmas Trees are fire hazards if not cared for
- Artificial trees are always the safer choice, especially those with built in LEDs. If you prefer a real tree, you must ensure it is always properly watered. Once the tree has died and dried out, it is a major fire hazard. Light strands hung on a real tree should always be kept a safe distance away from the water basin of your tree stand.
- Securely fasten all outdoor light strands
- Don’t hang them in wet or windy weather, or put any on flammable decorations or materials. Always securely fasten the lights to firm objects like trees or walls. Winter storms can very easily blow them loose and create potential electrical hazards.
- Turn off your lights when you are not home
- -Whether you are stepping out quickly or your family is going to sleep for the night, turn all of your Christmas lights completely off. If you have too many or often forget you may want to consider an automated timer or a remote control that is able to turn all of the lights off with the press of a button.
- Reconsider candles with pets or small children
- Though candles are very popular during the Christmas Season, they pose a serious safety threat. Always place them on flat surfaces that cannot be accessible to children or animals. It is also important for that surface to be a safe distance away from any curtains, decorations, or wrapping paper. To avoid hazard, consider flameless candles instead.
- Avoid using nails or screws to hang lights
- This will prevent the wire being punctured and the lights malfunctioning. It will also prevent a quite serious shock to the person hanging them. Light clips can be found in any hardware stores and will also cause less damage to whatever surface you are securing them to.
Whether you operate at a Clark Griswold level or use the ‘less is more’ approach during the holiday season, protecting your family and your home should be your number one priority. Having a fire extinguisher readily available while your lights and other electronic decorations are on display is always a smart idea. When the season comes to an end remember to store all of your lights properly. Put all your lights into a well-sealed container to protect them again water damage as well are damage from rodents or other animals chewing the wires.
Have and very happy & very safe Christmas Season!
– From our Family to yours!