It’s the most wonderful time of the year — a time for entertaining and enjoying the company of friends and family. But before all the December festivities begin, many homes will take part in another holiday tradition: decorating!
This joyous time of year is all about making your home inviting and cheerful, inside and out. However, in the hustle and bustle of the season, it can be easy to forget that holiday lighting and décor can actually be hazardous if the proper precautions aren’t taken. In fact, overloaded circuits, Christmas trees and holiday lights are responsible for fires that damage and destroy hundreds of homes each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
It only takes a few seconds for a fire to spark. Stay safe this holiday season by following these five key tips.
1. Buy safe products.
Indoors and out, use only lights that have been tested for safety. Look for the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label. And if you buy an artificial tree, be sure to check for a “flame resistant” label.
2. Inspect holiday lights before you install them.
Holiday lights stay packed for most of the year, so it’s important to check each set of lights (new or old) for broken or cracked sockets, loose connections, and frayed or bare wires.
If you find damaged strings, be sure to properly dispose of them, especially if they contain compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). SRP partners with retail locations around the Valley for CFL recycling.
3. Consider LED holiday lights.
LED lights are not only longer lasting than incandescent bulbs, but they’re also a lot safer. Because they don’t get hot to the touch, they are much less likely to spark a fire in a dry Christmas tree. They also draw less energy from outlets, reducing the risk of an electrical fire and allowing you to connect more strands together safely.
Shopping for LED holiday lights? They’re on sale this time of year on SRP Marketplace!
4. Plug in safely.
Uncoil your cords completely before using, and be sure to place them away from heat sources, water and high-traffic areas. Don’t place them under rugs and doors or through windows where they might be pinched or become worn.
Never overload outlets or extension cords. Wherever possible, plug holiday lights and displays into GFCI-protected outlets to prevent serious electric shock. To hook up your outdoor lighting, use a three-prong grounded extension cord with the UL label. It’s a good idea to ask a residential electrician to come and check all of your wiring when you have finished, just to give you that peace of mind.
Unplug tree lights and decorative outdoor lighting before leaving the house or going to bed. You can also use indoor and outdoor automatic lighting timers to ensure that lights aren’t left on by mistake.
By following these tips, your holiday is sure to be merry and safe.
Speaking of holiday lights, be sure to see your November SRP bill for buy one, get one free admission to ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo.