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7 Safety Tips for Christmas Lights You Should Know

It may not be a presidential election year, but that doesn’t mean that November still isn’t full of a hot debate and a divisive issue–when to put up the Christmas decorations.

Some scoff at the idea of even thinking about it until after Thanksgiving, while others make their homes holly jolly come November 1. Whatever side of the debate you fall on, and whenever you decide to break out the lights, there are certain electrical safety tips we all need to follow.

7 Christmas Light Safety Tips You Should Know

1. Pay attention to whether the lights are indoor lights or outdoor lights

Outdoor lights are designed to withstand many of the elements that come in November and December such as rain and snow.  Many light strands today are approved to be used both inside and outside, but it is still important to double check.

2. Inspect all light strands for any cracked or frayed cords

Yep, every single strand.

3. Make sure all Christmas lights have been approved by an independent testing association such as Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL)

UL ensures that the lights have been tested to be safe from shock and fire.

4. Know how many strands of lights can be plugged into a single outlet

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions in regard to how many strands of lights can be plugged together, and always err on the side of caution.  The number will depend on whether you are using LED lights or incandescent bulbs, how many watts per string, and and how many watts the home’s electrical circuit can handle.

5. Practice good extension cord safety etiquette

In order to create the Christmas light masterpiece of your dreams outside, or place the tree exactly where you want it, extension cords are often necessary.  Before plugging one in check out these tips about extension cords from Electrical Safety Foundation International to help.

6. Water the Christmas tree

We know that when to start decorating for Christmas is only one hot button issue that comes up during the holiday season.  There are also strong arguments for or against real Christmas trees.  If your family is on “Team Real Tree” this year, then it is important to remember to water the Christmas tree and keep it hydrated.  Dry pines and warm lights don’t mix and can result in a serious fire hazard.

The Minnesota Christmas Tree Association points out, “Christmas trees are very thirsty! It is not unusual for a tree to drink 2 gallons of water the first day it is the stand.”  Therefore, make sure to consistently check the water for the tree daily.

7. Don’t forget to turn off the Christmas lights

At nighttime or whenever you leave the house, make it a habit to switch off the lights on your Christmas tree.  Purchasing a timer can help you to remember this.

Happy decorating now, or after Thanksgiving!  If you are looking for more electrical safety advice, contact us at FLAME Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, and Electrical.

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