It’s the holiday season and as you start to add lights to your home—both indoors and out—it’s important to keep safety in mind. Electrical fires are the cause of half of Christmas tree fires and according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one in five fires were started by decorative lights. We’ve compiled some holiday lighting safety tips to keep your home and your family safe.
Holiday Lighting Safety Tips
Don’t plug in too many lights to a single outlet. Multiple extension cords, with multiple lights, plugged in can overload your circuit and cause a fire.
Don’t use damaged extension cords. It’s tempting just to tape up a damaged or frayed cord, but it’s safer to purchase a new one. A new extension cord is a lot less expensive than a house fire.
Use lights and extension cords where they were intended to be used. Check the UL symbol on your products to see where they can be used. The green symbol means that the products are good for indoor use only. Products with the red symbol can be used outdoors and can be exposed to rain and humidity. Using the wrong type of electrical product in an improper environment can cause electrical fires.
Outdoor outlets should be GCFI which are weather resistant. These types of outlets also protect against electrical shocks and are tamper-resistant as well.
If you’re hanging lights outdoors, don’t use staples or nails. These can puncture the insulation on the wire and cause a fire or an electrical shock. Plastic hooks are easy to install and much safer to use.
As you’re hanging those lights, don’t use a metal ladder. Wood or fiberglass ladders are safer and don’t conduct electricity as easily as metal.
If you have a live tree, be sure to keep light cords away from the water source and metal objects. If you have an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled as “flame resistant”.
Finally, consider switching to LED lights. LEDs last a long time and don’t get hot to the touch so they’re a safer choice overall.
However you choose to celebrate the holidays, the team at Raceway Electric hopes you stay safe, and wishes you a happy season and new year!