Top 5 Christmas Light Safety Tips
While Christmas light displays are a holiday favorite, it’s important that you ensure that all lights are safe and undamaged when using them in or around your home. It’s essential that Christmas lights are used properly, as otherwise they can short out or get hot enough to ignite other decorations, thereby posing a fire hazard. Frayed or otherwise damaged wires and other electrical components can likewise present a danger. Christmas lights are a beautiful part of the holiday experience and are meant to be enjoyed each year. Here are the top 5 Christmas light safety tips so that you can securely enjoy yours this holiday season.
- Make sure your lights have been tested and certified. When choosing Christmas light decorations, it’s important to make sure that they’ve been certified safe by a reputable testing laboratory—a fact that should be noted clearly on the packaging. Even better, choose LED lights rather than their traditional incandescent counterparts. LEDs not only use much less energy, but they burn much cooler, meaning that they are much less likely to spark a fire.
- Inspect your Christmas lights annually. Before hanging, draping, or otherwise putting up your lights, do a thorough inspection of each set. Look for any sign of damage—such as cracked or broken sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections—and discard them immediately. For traditional lights, any burned out bulbs should also be replaced with those of the same wattage.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely. When decorating outdoors with holiday lights, it’s important to make sure that all lights are fastened securely to trees or buildings in order to protect the cord from wind damage, which can lead to fraying. Try to use hooks or insulated holders rather than nails, which can inadvertently poke and damage the wire, and stay away from hanging lights near power lines. Also be sure your lights and extension cords are specifically designed for outdoor use.
- Watch your power usage. It’s critical that you use extension cords safely with your Christmas light displays. The general rule of thumb is to use no more than 3 standard-size light sets per single extension cord. Also be sure not to load up individual outlets, as this can likewise pose a fire hazard.
- Turn off lights overnight. It’s important to remember that Christmas light displays always have the potential to short out and start a fire. Thus, it’s recommended that you turn them off each evening before you and your family go to bed.