Holiday Lighting Safety
Are you the Clark Griswold of your neighborhood with your extravagant light display for the holiday season? If so, we hope you’re being safer than he was when you’re decorating your house.
While holiday lights are a fun, festive way to ring in the season, they can also be dangerous. If not put up or plugged in properly, they can cause electrical surges and fires (They could even electrocute the cat. Again, we hope you’re being more careful than Clark Griswold was in Christmas Vacation) To keep you, your family and your cat safe this holiday season, here’s a list of holiday lighting safety tips.
Replace incandescent string lights with LED string lights
Unlike incandescent bulbs that burn hot and pose a fire risk, LED’s are cool to the touch and reduce the risk of fire hazards Upfront they can be more expensive to buy than traditional incandescent lights, but LED lights cost much less to operate, making them a more affordable, energy efficient option.
Inspect string lights for damage
Look for frayed or cracked electrical cords and broken sockets. If you find that your string lights are damaged, throw them out, because this is the leading cause of holiday fires.
Replace burned out bulbs
Empty sockets can cause the entire string of lights to overheat, so be sure to replace those burned-out bulbs.
Make sure outdoor lighting is UL rated for exterior use
Exterior lights, unlike those used inside the house, need to be weather-resistant. The same goes for any extension cords used outdoors. Lights should be approved by Underwriters Laboratory (UL). UL will be displayed on the tag, signifying the product has been inspected for potential safety hazards. Red UL marks indicate the lights are safe for indoor/outdoor use, and green UL marks indicate the lights are only safe for indoor use.
Don’t attach strings of lights with nails or staples
Nails and staples cut through the wire insulation and create a fire hazard. Instead, use UL approved clips to safely attach lights to the house.
Plug in outdoor lights and decorations into GFI outlets
GFIs (Ground Fault Interrupters) help prevent electric shock by breaking the circuit when differences in the currents of hot and neutral wires occur. If you don’t have any GFIs, BriteBox electricians can install some for you.
Don’t overload extension cords
Use no more than three sets of standard lights per cord to avoid a fire hazard or tripped breaker.
Place cords in low traffic areas
Placing cords in low traffic areas will prevent people from tripping, walking on or crushing cords.
Make sure holiday lights are not touching flammable items
Indoor holiday lights should not touch furniture, drapes or carpeting, because they can get hot and become a fire hazard.
Use a timer for holiday lights
This will save you on energy bills and prevent you from forgetting to turn off lights and risking a fire hazard from overheating. We can even help you sync your lights to your existing smart home system, letting you control them from anywhere!
Don’t forget to periodically check lights and decorations throughout the season to ensure they continue to operate safely. And don’t electrocute yourself or the cat at the expense of a nice lighting display.
If you have questions or just need our help, schedule your next service call online. And Happy Holidays from all of us at BriteBox!