The holiday season has arrived, which means Christmas lights and decorations. A house lit up with Christmas lights inside and out is stunning, and this can be an exciting time of the year. But, it is important to keep in mind that stringing lights in and around your home can be a safety hazard if you aren’t careful. When decorating, it is important to think about hazards, so take a few minutes to follow these safety tips for Christmas lighting.
Choose the Right Lights
Christmas lights are available in a wide variety of options. You can choose LED, clear, multicolor or traditional designs, but whichever style you choose, it is important to know whether they are right for where you display them. For example, some lights are rated for use indoors only, which means they are not designed to handle the elements outdoors. Using indoor lights outside can cause the lights to crack, damage to the wires and possibly cause a fire should the wiring get wet or damaged. Make sure only to use lights outdoors that are rated for outdoor use. It is also important to use lights that are UL or ETL approved, which means they have been tested and are safe for use.
Inspect Your Lights
Christmas lights are fragile, so it is inevitable that they will get damaged and/or worn over time. Faulty lights are a serious safety hazard, so it is essential that you carefully inspect each strand. Some of the things to be aware of include:
- Burned out bulbs- if bulbs are burned out, replace them, but make sure to use the correct wattage bulbs.
- Make sure to unplug the lights before removing bulbs and fuses and be careful when handling broken bulbs or fuses to avoid injury.
- Carefully check the cords for cracking, fraying or loose connections.
- If you have strands of lights that are several years old, check to make sure they have a fused plug, which helps to prevent sparks in the case of a short circuit. Older lights have an exposed fuse, so they could possibly spark if they short circuit. The safest thing to do is replace all lights that do not have fused plugs.
- Incandescent bulbs can get extremely hot, in fact, they can get hot enough to burn or ignite other items. If you suspect the bulbs on your Christmas lights are incandescent, you should consider replacing them with LED lights, which are safer.
Don’t Overload Power Strips
Although it may be easier to have all of the lights strung together, it is unsafe to have them all plugged into a single power strip. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to not use more than three sets of lights at a time in a single power strip. More than three will overwork the power strip, which may lead to a fire.
When it comes to lighting, safety should always come first. As with any home lighting, your Christmas lights should be unplugged when they are not in use; not only will this prevent them from overheating, but it will help save on your electricity bill as well. If you have any concerns about the safety of your Christmas lights, always go with the best choice, which is to replace those you feel may be damaged.
If you have any questions regarding the safety of home lighting or if you want to learn more information about the different lighting options we have available for everyday use, contact Northern Lighting.