The holiday season is upon us, and that means it’s time to start adorning your home with decorative lights. While holiday lighting can add a beautiful touch to your home, it’s important to remember that it can also pose a safety hazard if not used properly.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 160 home fires per year are caused by holiday lights, resulting in an average of 9 deaths, 13 injuries, and $9 million in property damage. To ensure a safe and happy holiday season, here are 6 essential tips for safe Christmas lights.
Tip 1: Choose the Right Lights
When purchasing holiday lights, make sure to choose ones that are specifically designed for outdoor use. These lights are made with weather-resistant materials and are designed to withstand the elements. Indoor lights should never be used outside, as they are not built to withstand rain, snow, or extreme temperatures.
Additionally, look for lights that have been tested and approved by a recognized safety testing laboratory, such as UL or ETL. These lights have been deemed safe for use and have undergone rigorous testing to ensure they meet safety standards.
Tip 2: Inspect Lights Before Use
Before hanging up your lights, it’s important to inspect them for any damage or wear and tear. Look for frayed wires, broken bulbs, or any other signs of damage. If you find any, do not use the lights and replace them with new ones.
It’s also important to check the cords for any signs of damage, such as cracks or exposed wires. Damaged cords can pose a fire hazard and should be replaced immediately.
Tip 3: Use Outdoor-Safe Extension Cords
When setting up your holiday lights, make sure to use extension cords that are specifically designed for outdoor use. These cords are made with weather-resistant materials and have been tested for safety.
Avoid using indoor extension cords, as they are not built to withstand the elements and can pose a fire hazard. Additionally, make sure to use the correct gauge of the extension cord for your lights. Using a cord with a lower gauge than recommended can cause overheating and potentially start a fire.
Tip 4: Don’t Overload Outlets
It can be tempting to plug in multiple strands of lights into one outlet, but this can be dangerous. Overloading an outlet can cause it to overheat and potentially start a fire.
To avoid overloading outlets, use a power strip with a built-in circuit breaker. This will automatically shut off the power if the outlet becomes overloaded, preventing a potential fire.
Tip 5: Use Proper Hanging Techniques
When hanging your lights, make sure to use proper techniques to avoid any accidents. Use clips or hooks specifically designed for hanging lights, and avoid using staples or nails, as they can damage the wires and create a fire hazard.
Additionally, make sure to secure the lights properly to prevent them from falling or getting tangled. This will not only keep your lights looking neat and tidy, but it will also prevent any potential hazards.
Tip 6: Turn Off Lights When Not in Use
It’s important to turn off your holiday lights when you are not home or go to bed. Leaving them on for extended periods of time can increase the risk of a fire.
Consider using a timer to automatically turn off your lights at a certain time each night. This will not only save energy but will also ensure that your lights are not left on for extended periods of time.
Bonus Tip: Consider LED Lights
Consider using LED lights if you’re looking for a safer and more energy-efficient option for your holiday lights. LED lights use less energy and produce less heat than traditional incandescent lights, making them a safer option for your home.
Additionally, LED lights are more durable and have a longer lifespan, meaning you won’t have to replace them as often. While they may be a bit more expensive upfront, they will save you money in the long run and provide a safer option for your holiday lighting.
By following these 6 essential tips for safe Christmas lights, you can ensure a safe and happy holiday season for you and your family. Remember always to choose the right lights, inspect them before use, use outdoor-safe extension cords, avoid overloading outlets, use proper hanging techniques, and turn off lights when not in use. And for a safer and more energy-efficient option, consider using LED lights. Happy decorating!