Decorating your home with Christmas lights is a quintessentially American holiday tradition. This practice, however, is the reason residential and electrical fires are highest during the holidays. The U.S. Fire Administration says that nearly 156,000 fires occur in the country each year during the winter holiday season.
With that, it’s crucial to observe safety practices when installing holiday lights for your and your family’s safety. Texas Light Crew, a professional holiday light designer, shares the dos and don’ts of outdoor Christmas light safety.
Christmas Lights Dos
Examine Lights Before Installing
The first thing you should do after taking your lights out of storage is to examine them. Check for frayed or bare wires, cracked or broken sockets, and loose connections. It’s also a good idea to plug them in first before hanging them up to look for bad bulbs.
If there are any burned-out bulbs, you can easily replace those with bulbs of the same wattage. But if the wires and sockets are damaged, you need to replace the whole set to prevent fires caused by electrical shorts.
Use Verified Lighting & Outlets
Choose holiday lights that are rated for outdoor use. Outdoor lights are waterproof, which helps prevent fire hazards and electrical shocks. These holiday lights have a red holographic UL mark on the tag, indicating that the product has been tested and approved by Underwriters Laboratories.
You also want to plug your Christmas lights into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. A GFCI outlet is designed to cut the power if it comes into contact with water, preventing electrical fires.
Fasten Your Outdoor Lights
Always fasten your outdoor lights to stable surfaces, such as the walls and roof of your house or nearby tree trunks. Doing so keeps your lights from getting blown by the wind and tangled in tree canopies or electrical service lines connecting to your house.
Christmas Lights Don’ts
Don’t Use Staples, Tacks, or Nails for Fastening
Metal fasteners can generate heat and circuits that could set your home on fire. They can also cause electrocution hazards if they come into contact with live strings of holiday lights and transfer the current to the metal components of your house, such as your gutters and downspout.
Use plastic roof clips or insulated holders designed for outdoor lights instead of tacks, staples, and other metal fasteners.
Don’t Plug Too Many Lights in the Same Outlet
This should go without saying, but it is a large safety hazard that therefore deserves noting. Never over plug too many lights into the same outlet! This is where a professional Christmas light installer can certainly come in handy – with the planning and layout of plugs to not overwhelm your sockets.
Don’t Leave Your Christmas Lights On During The Day
The Consumer Product Safety Commission urges everyone to unplug their lights before going to bed or leaving the house. If you frequently forget to unplug them, you can purchase a timer for your holiday lights so that they automatically turn off at the same time each day.
Practicing Christmas Light Installation Safety
Working with holiday lights can be difficult and risky, especially if you’re hanging them up on your roof. To ensure safe and proper installation, hire professional Christmas light installers instead of doing it yourself.
Texas Light Crew is a trusted professional holiday light installer. Our team is highly experienced and trained, so we know how to properly install the lights to prevent fires and electrical problems.
Fill out our online form to get a free quote or to send your inquiries.