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Holiday Lights Safety Tips

December 6, 2022

The holidays are a time for family, friends and fun. Many homeowners decorate indoors and outside to celebrate the season, creating a dazzling display of twinkling lights. However, these decorations can create safety hazards if you’re not careful. If you're planning to put up holiday lights this year, make sure to follow these holiday lights safety tips to keep your home safe and festive. Happy holidays!

1. Shop for Safe Decor

When purchasing holiday lights, be sure to look for lights that have been tested for safety by an independent testing laboratory, such as UL Solutions. These lights will have a label that indicates that they've been tested and are safe to use.

The same goes when using extension cords with your holiday lights. Be sure to use only cords that are UL-listed. These cords have been tested for safety and are less likely to cause house fires or other accidents.

2. Inspect Your Holiday Lights Before Decorating

Before you put up your holiday lights, it's important to inspect them for any damage. Look for any frayed wires, cracked bulbs, or missing insulation. If you find any damaged lights, be sure to throw them away and replace them with new ones.

3. Use the Right Bulbs

When choosing bulbs for your holiday lights, be sure to choose the correct type and size for your light strings. Incandescent bulbs are the most common type of bulb used for holiday lights, but LED bulbs are also becoming increasingly popular. Be sure to check the wattage rating of your light strings before purchasing bulbs, as using too high of a wattage bulb can cause the string to overheat and potentially start a fire.

4. Follow the Manufacturer's Instructions

Finally, be sure to always follow the manufacturer's instructions when setting up your holiday lights. These instructions are designed to ensure the safety of both you and your lights, so it's important to heed them. Some holiday lights are meant only for indoor use while others are designed to be safe for use outside – make sure to decorate with the appropriate holiday lights for each area of your home.

5. Safely Hang Holiday Lights

Nails and staples can easily pierce the cord as you hang holiday lights, damaging the wiring and posing a serious safety hazard. Clips are a much safer option, and they're easy to use. Plus, they'll help to keep your lights looking neat and tidy.

6. Use GFCI Outlets Outside

When decorating the exterior of your home for the holidays, it's important to only plug light strands into GFCI outlets. GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets are designed to protect against electrical shocks and are required by code in many areas. They work by sensing when currents are flowing through a circuit and shutting off the power if there is an imbalance. This is especially important when using holiday lights outdoors, as they can often be damaged or become frayed, increasing the risk of an electrical shock when moisture from snow or rain is present.

7. Don't Overload Your Outlets

Another important safety tip is to make sure you don't overload your outlets. When plugging in multiple light strings or other holiday decorations, be sure not to exceed the maximum amperage rating of the outlet. Overloading an outlet can cause it to overheat and potentially start a fire.

8. Keep Your Lights Off During Storms

If a storm is forecasted in your area, it's best to err on the side of caution and keep your holiday lights off until the storm has passed. High winds can cause tree branches or other objects to fall and damage your lights, which could lead to an electrical hazard.

9. Turn Off Lights When Away or Asleep

If you’re leaving home or settling into bed for that long winter’s nap, it's best to turn off your holiday lights. This will help to prevent fires and other accidents from happening while these decorations are unattended.

Residential Restoration Services in Indiana

While it’s tempting to go all out with holiday lights, there are some safety precautions you should take to avoid house fires. Following the holiday lights safety tips above can help protect your family, but should you experience a home fire this season, contact Hays + Sons for fire damage restoration services to restore your residence.