Safety First! 11 Christmas Lighting Safety Tips You Must Know

November 30, 2020

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Christmas lighting safety tips

Christmas lights lend that festive feel to our home and surroundings in the holiday season. However, these lights are not devoid of risks. There are real possibilities of electrocution, falls, and shorting.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that Christmas lights lead to 44% of fires on Christmas trees. And as per the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), overall Christmas decorations caused over 15,000 injuries that led to an emergency room visit, and in 2012, falls were the highest occurring (34%) among the most frequent holiday decoration incidents found in emergency rooms.

So, to have a happy and safe Christmas, make sure you decorate your home while following all the necessary safety measures. Some of the key holiday lighting safety tips to follow are listed here.

Christmas Lighting Safety Tips to Follow

1. Replace Damaged or Old Christmas Lights

If you want to use Christmas lights from last year, examine them to make sure they’re in good condition before you do that. Check for frayed or cracked cords, sockets without bulbs, and wires poking through insulation.

This might seem tedious but know that damage to the light bulb or cord could lead to an electric shock when it’s plugged in, or worst case, cause an electric fire.

2. Choose LED Lights

If you’re planning to buy new Christmas lights, choose LED lights with epoxy lenses. LED lighting is cool to the touch compared to conventional Christmas lights, and they also consume less electricity, which will keep your electric bill down.

LED light installation

3. Christmas Lights with UL Safety Certification

Some Christmas lighting comes with a UL Safety Certification, which means that the lights are manufactured and designed to meet the industry specifications for safety by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) – an independent organization of product safety certification.

Compared to lights without this certification, lights with this certification are safer to be used in homes. If your current holiday lights don’t have this certification, consider investing in lights that have it.

4. Read the Label when Using Indoor and Outdoor Lights

Christmas lighting is labeled according to their use. They have a disclaimer reading “for indoor and outdoor use” or “for indoor use only”. Ensure that you read the disclaimer carefully as Christmas lights that are for indoor use only can’t be used outdoors.

Indoor-only Christmas lighting doesn’t have insulation like outdoor lighting so they won’t work in the moisture present outside. If indoor Christmas lights are subjected to snow, water, or other outdoor elements, they could become hazardous.

5. Keep the Christmas Tree Hydrated

This is one of the most important Christmas lighting tips. Besides overheated Christmas trees, dry Christmas trees can also lead to fires. A dry Christmas tree is more flammable than a properly watered tree. In case you’re using a real Christmas tree, ensure that you prevent it from drying out by checking the water every day.

Nevertheless, if you’re happy with not using a real Christmas tree, go for the safer option of using an artificial Christmas tree that’s made of fire-resistant materials.

Christmas lighting tips

6. Be Careful when Using Ladders

As falls are the highest occurring injury seen in emergency rooms during holidays, knowing how to use a ladder safely while hanging holiday lights off your home’s roof or anywhere else is important.

Make sure you have a spotter accompanying you to hold the ladder for keeping it stable. To save yourself from tipping, don’t ever extend your body further than parallel to the ladder while hanging holiday lights. Additionally, use a fiberglass or wooden ladder when hanging Christmas lights to prevent electric shock.

Careful when Using Ladders

7. Secure the Loose Light Strands

In case you have a long strand of holiday lights between the outlet and your Christmas tree or are using an extension cord, ensure that you secure all the loose strands of light with an electrical tape to prevent tripping and falling.

For loose Christmas light strands outdoors, use ground staples, which you can find at any hardware store, to secure them. Place the ground staple around the light, and then push as far as possible into the ground or any other soft surface to secure the cord.

8. Instead of Screws or Nails, Use Christmas Light Clips

When you hang outdoor holiday lights on the roof, avoid using screws or nails for securing the lights since the wires can get punctured, leading to malfunctioning of the lights, or worst case, shocking the person who installs them.

For outdoor electrical safety, use light clips instead, which you can find at any hardware store. Light clips are safer to use for holiday lights, and they also cause less damage to the roof compared to screws or nails.

9. Avoid Running Holiday Lights through Doors or Windows

If you don’t have an outdoor outlet to use, lighting up your home may be difficult. Keep in mind that you must not run extension cords or Christmas lights through the doors or windows. When closed on a light strand, doors and windows can lead to wires breaking or fraying due to constant pressure. This can make them a safety hazard that could result in electric fires or shocks.

10. Don’t have More than 3 Light Sets in an Extension Cord

Most manufacturers recommend avoiding plugging in over 3 Christmas light sets into one extension cord to prevent any overheating problems. However, it depends on the wattage of the strand as well as the plug’s maximum watt capacity.

In case you’re not aware of how to check your home’s wattage, use a power strip having an inbuilt circuit breaker rather than your wall outlet. Ensure that you cross-reference your Christmas lights’ wattage to the amount of the power strip prior to plugging it in.

11. Employ GFCI Outlet for your Outdoor Christmas Lights

This is one of the most important outdoor decorating safety tips. For outdoor holiday lights, a specific outlet, known as a Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet, is used. This outlet prevents any electric shock led by electrical systems exposed to wet conditions, such as snow or rain, by serving as a circuit breaker.

This is incredibly helpful when your outlet is located outdoors. Ensure that you safeguard yourself as well as your home from any electric shorts by using a GFCI outlet. If you’re not a pro at electrical work, you’ll need to seek the help of a licensed electrician for installing this outlet.

Wrapping Up

These are some key Christmas lighting safety tips you should follow while decorating your home with holiday lights. For the best results and highest level of safety, consider hiring a professional Christmas lighting installation company to handle the chore of installing Christmas lights for your home.

All American Turf Beauty is a well-experienced Christmas Light installation company based in Iowa. Our lighting installers can expertly decorate your home giving it a brilliant dazzle while ensuring complete Christmas lighting safety.

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