Once the holiday season rolls around, Christmas lights can be found strung up everywhere, from shops across town to the homes in your neighborhood. When you think about putting up the holiday lights and decorations, you’re probably concerned about how the lights will match your outside decor, if your Christmas tree has enough ornaments, or if the bulbs will turn on.
However, it’s essential to keep safety in mind when preparing to string up holiday lights. If you’re wondering if Christmas lights are a fire hazard, the answer is yes. While these beautiful indoor and outdoor lights can add a bit of much-needed cheer to the holiday season, they can also cause home fires, electric shocks, and nasty cuts.
Follow these five holiday light safety tips to keep you and your family merry—and safe—this season.
Give Your Lights a Thorough Check
If you’ve been waiting all year for the holidays, you’re probably eager to unpack those lights and get to stringing. Before you go wild decking the halls, don’t forget to test and check your lights. During your inspection, keep a lookout for loose or frayed wires, cracked sockets, wires jabbing through the insulation, or missing insulation altogether.
When you see lights that are damaged or need replacing, the best thing to do is purchase new sets. Seeing as damaged Christmas lights are a fire hazard, you can easily find reliable lights at a home improvement store. The investment could save you from experiencing electric shock or a fire that causes severe property damage.
Invest in High-Quality Lights
Don’t settle for the cheapest lights you can find—even if they happen to be especially pretty. When purchasing new lights, look for:
- LED lights with epoxy lenses
- No loose connectors
- Built-in timers
- Fuses at the plugs
- Sets with 22-gauge wiring (minimum)
If you’re eager to up your safety this holiday, consider LED lights. LED lights are cool to the touch compared to incandescent lights and can even help you waste less energy.
UL Safety Certification
Look for holiday lighting that boasts a UL Safety Certification. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent product safety certification organization recognized globally for setting safety standards. When you see the UL certification, you know that these types of lights meet certain specifications for safety.
Follow the Labels on Your Lights
Ensure that the lights you’re using are designed for their location. Whether you’re stringing lights outdoors or indoors as tree lights—or both—remember not to mix them up. This is an essential holiday light safety tip since indoor lights can never be outdoors!
Indoor lights aren’t insulted like their outdoor counterparts, which means they can quickly become a hazard when coming in contact with snow, rain, or any moisture.
Don’t Overload Your Extension Cords & Circuits
Many manufacturers highly advise plugging only up to three sets of holiday lights into one extension cord. Otherwise, you can risk overheating and causing a fire. Additionally, manufacturers recommend stringing no more than three strands of incandescent lights together to avoid overheating.
Your home’s holiday lighting and electrical system go hand in hand, so it’s crucial to keep holiday light safety tips such as these in mind.
Connect Outdoor Lights to GFCI Outlets
Another holiday light safety tip is to use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupting (GFCI) outlets when stringing up the outdoor lights to make your home’s exterior shine. These outlets are specific for outdoor lights, and if your lights happen to overload, the outlet will cut the power before your home’s breaker trips.
Since Christmas lights are a fire hazard, you want to take extra precautions wherever you can. When you use GFCI outlets, you can further safeguard yourself against electric shock and other dangers.
The Season For Safety & Joy
When the holidays come along, it can be easy to focus only on the merry and bright offerings of the season. Nonetheless, it’s vital to keep these holiday light safety tips in mind and keep you and your family safe throughout the holidays. Christmas lights are a fire hazard, so it’s never a bad idea to be overly cautious about fire and electrical safety.
If you have any electrical issues in your home that need fixing, Staley Electric services all residential electrical needs in North Little Rock, AR. From replacing a bad outlet to replacing electrical panels, we can help ensure your home is up and running to ensure a safe and joyful holiday. Call us today to see what our electricians can do to help boost your holiday light safety!