According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 12% of annual decoration-related house fires that occur during the holidays involve lighting equipment. Taking the proper safety precautions is essential to prevent personal injury and property damage during the most wonderful time of the year.
Top 9 Christmas Lighting Safety Tips
Whether you prefer to hang lights the day after Halloween or not until Thanksgiving week, follow these nine Christmas lighting safety tips to stay safe this holiday season.
- Inspect the Light Strands: Before hanging up any Christmas lights, inspect each strand for potential damage. Check for cracks, frays, and loose connections that could cause fire hazards like a short circuit or a power surge.
- Replace Any Old or Damaged Lights: Old lights are equipped with outdated hardware that doesn’t meet current safety standards, making them more likely to overheat and cause a fire. Do yourself a favor by replacing your old or damaged Christmas lights with new strands. Be sure the new lights have the correct wattage for your electrical outlets.
- Opt For LED Over Incandescent: LED Christmas lights are coated with an epoxy lens that makes them less likely to overheat and catch fire. LED lights also use less energy than traditional incandescent lights, meaning your holiday energy bills will be lower than in previous years.
- Check All Extension Cords for Abrasions: Damaged extension cords are another fire hazard to watch out for around the holidays. Keep extension cords off the ground to avoid water damage.
- Ensure Your Electrical Products Are UL Listed: A UL rating for an electrical product signifies that it meets current safety standards. All outdoor Christmas lights and extension cords should be UL listed, meaning they’re weather-resistant.
- Follow the Rule of Three: Don’t plug more than three Christmas light strands into one extension cord. Doing so can cause the extension cord to overheat, which is a fire hazard.
- Install the Lights Correctly: Avoid securing light strands with nails, screws, or tacks. These sharp objects can cut through the electrical wiring, which is a safety hazard. Use hooks or light-specific clips instead.
- Avoid Using Electric Lights on Metallic Trees: If your Christmas tree contains any metal components—including tinsel—don’t decorate it with lights. Mixing metal with electricity can cause electrical shock and fire injuries.
- Turn the Lights off When You’re Away: The last thing you want is for a light strand to catch fire when you’re not at home to put it out or call for help. To avoid this disaster, turn off all your Christmas lights when you’re away from the house for any amount of time. We also recommend turning off all indoor and outdoor Christmas lights before going to bed each night.
Bonus Tip: Store the Lights in a Safe Place
When it’s time to take down your lights at the end of the holiday season, roll them up carefully to avoid tangling, place them in a secure container, and store them in a dry space. Following these safety tips will keep your lights in tip-top shape for many Christmases to come.
Stay Safe With Our Emergency Electrical Services
If you’re worried about potential fire hazards in your home, schedule an emergency electrical service with Maitz Home Services to put your mind at ease. A licensed electrician will inspect your electrical system and fix any problems to ensure your holiday season goes off without a hitch.