It’s the most wonderful time of the year — a time for entertaining and enjoying the company of friends and family. 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 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.
This holiday season, we’re back with some additional tips to help you keep your home and family safe. Follow these safety tips during the holidays with the lights aglow, to ensure you’re in the know.
1) Buy safe products.
Indoors and outdoors, use only lights that have been tested for safety. Look for the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label when purchasing electronics. This is a nationally recognized standard. It ensures rigorous testing of each component of the product for electrical safety and long-term use. 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 ANY wire is exposed or the protective rubber casing is cracked or peeled, the entire cord should be discarded. Avoid electrical and fire hazards by paying attention when hanging lights. Make a safe call by throwing out damaged decorations.
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 them 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 avoid a potential electric and fire hazard this holiday season, familiarize yourself with the warning signs of an overloaded electrical system.
Warning signs include:
- Flickering lights
- Audible crackling sounds coming from outlets
- Cords that are warm to the touch
- Burnt wall outlet plates
- Loss of power from the outlet
If you discover any warning signs of an electrical or fire hazard, unplug your devices and check your breaker box for tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses.
To hook up your outdoor lighting, use a three-pronged grounded extension cord with the UL label. Three-pronged cords are safe to use both inside and outside. But keep in mind that two-pronged extension cords are only meant for indoors and should never be used outside.
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, bright and safe!