November 11, 2022

Holiday Lighting – Safety Electrical Tips That Could Save Your Home

Outdoor Christmas Lights Ideas For The Roof

The cold dark nights, contrasted by the bright warm homes make the holidays one of the most festive times of the year. Unfortunately, hundreds of families could lose their homes to fires caused by the very lights that are meant to bring holiday cheer.

Every year, 150 home fires start with holiday lights and other decorative lighting. And another 260 home fires begin with Christmas trees, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. Checking your equipment and taking the appropriate steps beforehand could save you the trouble of having to deal with huge damages down the road.

Check Everything Carefully

With each string of lights, be sure to examine the bulbs for cracks, broken sockets and each chord for nicks or frayed wires. If any of these defects are found, it’s best to not use the lights and acquire another set. Though this process can be tedious and time consuming, taking these preemptive steps can reduce risk of an electrical issue.  

Use the Right Lights and Cords

There is a difference between indoor lights and outdoor lights, this rule also applies to extension cords. Outdoor lighting has been manufactured and tested to endure rain, winds and other weather conditions. A red UL on the package is the certification that the lights are approved for outdoor use. A package with a green UL listing means that the lights have been approved for indoor use. To make this easy, store each kind separately- outdoor together, indoor together- to ensure correct use each year.

Don’t Overload the Circuit

Each circuit can only handle a certain number of lights or electrical current. Overloading the circuit can cause it to “trip,” which disables the circuit.  It’s important to pay attention to the circuit rating on the label, which will tell you how many lights your circuit can manage. When plugging in lights outside remember to use a ground fault circuit interrupter. GFCI reduces the risk of shock from faulty plug-in cords by detecting dangerous ground faults and immediately shutting off the power. 

Use Plastic Hooks

When it comes to hanging your lights, avoid using metal staples or nails. The sharp edges can pierce the insulation, causing a shock or fire hazard. Instead use plastic hooks, which come in many sizes and shapes and are easier to install and remove.

Switch to LED Bulbs

In a time of excessive power use, any steps in reducing your costs and carbon footprint is helpful. Though incandescent bulbs cost less than LED’s upfront, the overall savings of using LED lights could pay out more in the long run when it comes to overall holiday energy use.

How To Prevent Christmas Tree Fires In Troy Homes | Troy, MI Patch

Keep Your Tree Healthy

If you hang your indoor lights on a live tree, it’s important to keep that tree as hydrated and healthy as possible. Even though indoor lights are regulated to burn bright and not hot, a dried tree may have a higher chance of sparking, especially if it’s in a dry climate.

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