The holiday season brings with it the yearning to indulge in savories and light up your home with colorful holiday lights. Well, when it comes to holiday decorations and lighting, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. So, before starting with the decorations, it’s wise to get the necessary knowledge about Christmas light safety.
We’re here to help you light up your home safely for the holidays, by offering you some handy holiday lighting safety tips. Read on…
Before Hanging Christmas Lights
Before putting up your Christmas lights, there are certain things you should do to make sure they are safe.
1.Verify Proper Rating
Bargain lights are not a great buy if they pose the risk of a fire hazard. Go for only those lights that are rated and tested by Intertek (ETL Semko) or Underwriter’s Laboratory. Strings of lights with a safety rating have clear markings on them – on the packaging as well as on labels attached to the electrical cords.
2. Use as Directed
Indoor holiday lights differ significantly from outdoor holiday lights. Prior to hanging lights, ensure that you’re placing the fixtures in the environment they’re built to be used. This would help you prevent any indoor or outdoor Christmas lights fire hazard.
3. Check for Fraying
After removing your Christmas lights from storage, check the cords for ensuring that they aren’t frayed or damaged in any way. Using lights having damaged cords can result in an electrical short. This may cause damage to your holiday decorations and other lights as well as pose the risk of fire. In case you notice any damaged light strings, discard them.
4. Choose Locations Carefully
Don’t hang holiday lights close to any item posing a risk of fire hazard, like fireplaces, space heaters, candles etc. Alongside, ensure that the bulbs are at a safe distance from loose paper or other types of flammable materials presenting a safety hazard.
5. Hang Holiday Lights Carefully
Avoid using nails, staples, or tacks for hanging your Christmas lights. Use insulated holders instead that are designed specifically for this purpose.
After Hanging Christmas Lights
Once your Christmas lights are in place, there are certain things you need to do.
6. Avoid Leaving the Lights on Unattended
Turn off your holiday lights any time you won’t be nearby to look after them. So, if you’re leaving your home for some time or going to sleep, ensure that you turn off the lights before doing so.
Although this may seem hectic, you can find several products that simplify it, such as remote controls that let you turn off the lights by touching a button and Christmas light timers. If you tend to forget, go for an automated timer for your outdoor lighting, which illuminates your holiday decorations once it’s dark outside and switches them off at sunrise.
7. Place candles carefully
The flickering of warm candlelight feels quite comforting on a cozy night during the holidays. However, candles can be risky especially in homes with pets or kids prone to knocking things over accidentally. Make sure lit candles are placed above the reach of your pets and kids as well as at a safe distance from inflammable materials like wrapping paper or curtains. You can go for flameless candles instead that can eliminate the risk of fires and burns.
8. Use LED Lighting rather than Incandescent Lights
Although LED lights are a bit costlier, they are a better option for outdoors and indoors when it comes to safety. They work well for holiday decorations due to the low level of heat they produce. Additionally, they consume 75% less electricity and last about 25 times longer.
9. Don’t Interchange Outdoor and Indoor Lights
Although indoor lights may be a bit cheaper, avoid using them in place of outdoor lights. Compared to outdoor lights, indoor lights are less sealed against moisture that makes them unsafe for wet winter times. If you have doubts about the type of lighting you have, check the label or discard them and get new lights.
10. Discard Old Lights
Passing down holiday lighting can be nice; however, strands of old lights being used from several years can be quite dangerous. As compared to old lights, modern lights are quite safer since they consist of fused plugs that prevent sparks in case of a short circuit.
11. Use Only Three Light Strands in each Outlet
The number of strings of lights that can be connected together in sequence relies on the wattage of the strands as well as the house circuit’s maximum watt capacity. Figuring out what’s safe may require you doing some math. If you think you might calculate that number wrongly, try keeping each outlet to three light strands or fewer. Moreover, consider using a power strip having an inbuilt circuit breaker rather than your wall outlet for additional protection.
12. Fasten All your Outdoor Light Strings Securely
Outdoor Christmas light strings may be blown loose by winter storms leading to potential electrical Christmas light hazards. Fasten the lighting to firm objects such as walls or trees so that your lights are secure and stay where they belong. Additionally, fasten your indoor lights out of the reach of small children and pets to prevent any chewing mishaps, which may lead to accidental electrocution.
13. Use Extension Cords Carefully
If your extension cords are placed low enough for them to be surrounded by melted snow or pools of rain, outdoor lighting can create a safety risk. Make sure the cords are dry and use surge protectors for minimizing damage in the event of voltage fluctuation.
14. Prevent your Christmas Tree from Posing the Risk of a Fire Hazard
Unfortunately, the leading cause behind house fires in the holidays is Christmas trees. Although real trees come with their benefits, artificial trees are safer. Most of the artificial Christmas trees are made up of fire-resistant materials, which makes them safe to be decorated and lit up.
However, in case you choose a real tree, ensure that it’s fresh while buying and you keep the tree well watered. If the tree dries out, remove it immediately as it’s not safe anymore to be kept at home.
15. Don’t Use Electric Lights on Trees made of Metal
Your holiday décor can sparkle with tinsel and shiny aluminum Christmas trees. However, if you choose a metallic tree, make sure you don’t use any electric lights and/or decorations on it. A metallic tree can become charged with electricity easily and give a “shock” to anyone touching it.
Whether you go for simple Christmas decorations or a grand one this holiday season, your highest priority should be the safety of your home and family. Following the above Christmas light safety tips can help you enjoy the holidays while being safe.