7 Christmas Light Safety Considerations
With Thanksgiving over and more holidays around the corner, you may feel that it’s finally appropriate to start hanging decorations. For those who celebrate Christmas, that means lights around the tree, outdoors, and more. These lights can draw a significant amount of energy and pose a safety hazard if not properly installed. Here are some Christmas light safety considerations to keep in mind while hanging your decorations this year.
Christmas Light Safety Considerations
1. Never leave the lights on without supervision
The number one rule to keep in mind before installing Christmas lights is to never leave them on without supervision. You should never leave them on if you have to leave your home, or while you are sleeping. While you may be home while sleeping, it’s easy for an issue to go unnoticed, causing a much larger and more dangerous problem.
2. Application matters (indoor/outdoor)
Don’t overlook this crucial safety consideration when buying lights for your home. While indoor lights may be less expensive, they are NOT made for outdoor use. Outdoor Christmas lights are sealed and protected from the elements. Indoor lights are not built with the elements in mind, so avoid installing them outside.
3. Consider their environment
When hanging Christmas lights, whether it’s indoors or outdoors, you need to consider their environment. If you are hanging Christmas lights on a metal tree, any imperfections in your lights could pose a very dangerous scenario. Christmas trees are the number one source of house fires during the holiday season. And this isn’t solely due to metal trees. Keeping a live tree watered and maintained can reduce your risk of fire. When the tree dries out, its risk of catching fire increases dramatically. Considering the heat that some lights generate, keeping your tree well-watered is crucial.
4. Type of bulb matters (& age)
When you’re buying your Christmas lights, consider choosing LEDs over incandescent lights. Going back to heat, LEDs produce much less heat than incandescent lights. This will reduce the risk of setting your live tree on fire. Older incandescent lights tend to have fewer fail-safe features built in, such as fuses. Fuses will prevent further damage in the event of a surge or short. Additionally, since incandescents draw more power, never string them to LEDs.
5. Properly secure your lights
Securing your lights goes along with choosing the appropriate environment for them. If your lights were to fall, would they come into contact with anything that could be dangerous? Properly securing your lights to your roof, tree, or whatever fixture they may be tied to is critical in preventing hazards. Even if they won’t hit anything that could be an issue, the wires or bulbs can break leaving an open, live circuit. That itself can cause a host of issues. Something to keep in mind is to NEVER use staples, nails, or any construction hardware to secure your lights. Fasten the appropriate hangers to string your Christmas lights for safe and secure application.
6. Don’t plug too many into one outlet
Christmas lights are convenient in that they typically allow owners to stack cords into one outlet. Seems great, right? Well, to an extent. Your outlets are designed to manage a certain amount of current. When that current exceeds the rating of the outlet, you are creating an unsafe situation. How many you can safely plug into your outlet depends on the draw of the lights.
7. Use caution with extension cords
Extension cords used for extended periods of time should be avoided. Sometimes, for temporary applications such as Christmas lights, it makes sense to use them. You should keep in mind where they are run to avoid issues. If the extension cord will be around water or snow, especially at a low point, they are vulnerable to moisture. It should go without saying that water and electricity do not mix, so this should be avoided at all costs for proper Christmas light safety.
If you need your home electrical system inspected before you run your Christmas lights this year, feel free to schedule an inspection with us here at McHales! If you don’t already know how great we are, check out our wonderful reviews!