Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Light Safety - A Few Tips

Your house truly stands out whenever the Christmas lights are finally installed and turned on at night. If you are not careful, however, the lights that are strung around your home and over your roof can prevent a real hazard. Before turning the switch on to dazzle the neighborhood, make sure that you have checked through a full safety checklist. This can help ensure that your lighting display lasts, and that you do not become a victim of one of the many electrical fires each year that are caused by unsafe Christmas lighting displays.

Before flipping that switch for the first time, go through this checklist to make sure your lights not only look great, but are as safe as can be.

· Check all cords and strands of light thoroughly for cracked cords, loose connections of frayed ends before stringing them up on your home.

· Electrical shorts and a dry tree can be a recipe for disaster. Keep your tree watered the entire time that it is in your home. It will not only keep it looking nice and green, but it could also save your life.

· Get rid of your old strings of lights and replace them with newer lights that have fused plugs. These plugs are designed to stop sparks if there is a short circuit and are much safer.

· Replace any burned out bulbs immediately with the correct wattage bulb.

· Make sure that all outdoor lights are plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet (GFCI) to make sure that you reduce your risk of shorts and shocks due to water and debris.

· Watch extension cords to make sure that they are not overheating.

· Use insulated hooks, rather than tacks, screws or nails to hang lights.

· Keep water, debris and snow out of connections by elevating any plugs from cords that are running along the ground.

· Prevent people from tripping over ground-level extension cords by taping them to the ground.

· Only buy lights that have been tested in a laboratory. This rating should be listed on the outside of the box.

· Make sure that you are only using lights that are rated for outdoor use when hanging up lights outside. Indoor lights typically have thinner insulation, which can become damaged when exposed to the elements.

· Turn lights off when you go to bed at night or when you are away from your home.

· Store all holiday lights in a properly sealed container to avoid any water or rodent damage during the storage period.

Although holiday lighting accounts for a large portion of home electrical fires during the winter months, this should not deter you from decorating your home for the seasons. The majority of these fires can be prevented, and employing a little education and common sense can go a long way. With the proper precautions and safe installation, you can enjoy your holiday lighting year after year.

 By Cody Kenworthy
Cody Kenworthy is a writer for, a Los Angeles Electrician. He enjoys writing on a variety of electrical topics, including Electrical Vehicle Chargers.

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