Wannabe Clark Griswolds of the world, this post is especially for you. Why? Because while it’s really great to full-on get into the holiday spirit by putting up an arsenal of outdoor lights – especially with COVID impacting family gatherings and other festivities in 2020 – nothing says bah humbug like burning your house down or hurting yourself in the process.
Here, the team at PowerTech offers tips on how to prevent a safety mishap so you (and your neighbors) can sit back and enjoy your holiday lights masterpiece – AND enjoy the warm glow of indoor lights as well.
20 Safety Tips for Holiday Lights
- Check all strings of lights, even if they are new, to make sure there are no frayed wires, loose connections, or cracked sockets. Get rid of any damaged cords.
- Don’t connect lights while you are adjusting them. Instead, inspect lights and make sure they are plugged together before you hang them.
- Regardless of whether they are hanging outside or inside, use lights that have been tested for safety and have the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label on them.
- Don’t rest bulbs on branches or tree needles. Clips or twist-ties can hold light bulbs upright.
- Keep your eye on your kids when they’re around lights and Christmas decorations. Make sure they don’t put bulbs or wires in their mouth, and make sure they understand that light sockets are bad.
- Unplug your lights when you leave home.
- Check to make sure any artificial tree or Christmas décor has a flame-resistant label.
- Rather than using incandescent lights, use LED lights which are safer, produce little heat, and are perfect holiday decorations. While using 75 percent less electricity, they last 25 times longer as well.
- Buy LED lights that do not get hot to the touch. They use less energy and last longer – both of which will save you even more money.
- Make sure cords are away from water and that they don’t rub against metal.
- Do not overload extension cords or outlets. Use a three-prong grounded extension cord that has the UL label to hook up any outdoor holiday lighting.
- Make sure all extension cords are straightened out and are uncoiled. They should be placed far from bulbs and heating sources. Electrical cords don’t go under rugs, doors, or through windows. That’s how they become pinched or worn, or the cords fray and break.
- Turn your lights off before you go to bed. Even on Christmas Eve!
- Use outdoor lights outside and indoor lights inside. Really. The two different kinds of lighting are not interchangeable. Make sure you check the label before you hang any lights to see what areas they’re meant for.
- Don’t use more than three strands of light per outlet. For added protection, consider using a power strip that has a built-in circuit breaker instead of a traditional wall outlet.
- Old lights can be dangerous – don’t be sentimental. Newer lights have fused plugs that help prevent sparks if there is a short circuit.
- Make sure any light strings used outside are fastened. Storms can blow lights around, cause electrical issues, and even lead to fire hazards.
- Do not use electric lights on metallic trees. It can cause the tree to become charged and shock those who come into contact with it. (Crazy, but true!)
- Only use extension cords when necessary. When extension cords get wet because of melted snow or pooling water, they can be safety hazards. Be sure to keep cords dry, using surge protectors to minimize risks if there is a fluctuation of voltage.
- Do not let your Christmas tree become a safety risk or fire hazard. Artificial trees are a safer option than real trees, and make sure you choose one that is fire-resistant. If you do use a real tree, make sure it is fresh and water it often. As soon as it dries out, throw it out.
These days, it’s more important than ever to take safety precautions to protect yourself and your family. That includes how you use lights and electricity to decorate your home.
If you have questions or concerns about your holiday lights posing a risk, you should speak with an experienced, licensed electrician. PowerTech offers emergency service around the clock and also offers full line electrical service for residential, commercial, and industrial clients. Call us today.
Happy Holidays to all of the Griswolds we know – and everyone else.
PowerTech has the power to provide all of your residential electrician and commercial electrical needs, whether it’s a home remodel or repair, an electrical issue at your business, a generator service or purchase, or emergency electrical help. Let us show you why we are the top choice for service in Council Bluffs, Omaha, and beyond.
Ready to get started? Request a quote or give us a call at 712.256.8702. You also can fill out our contact form and a representative will contact you as soon as possible.