What’s your favorite thing about Christmas? There’s snow, Santa, gifts, candies, and more but Christmas lights are the one thing that wins the heart of everyone. When the icicle lights expand from the eaves and shroud the glitzy lawn and tree decorations, they create a beautiful sight to behold. But, what about the safety cautions? These lights can be hazardous if you don’t follow the proper installation steps. Follow our Christmas safety tip to enjoy the holidays without any worry!
Christmas Light Safety
The lights are safer than candles but not following the proper steps can always create problems when there is electricity. LEDs are risk-free because they don’t get hot. The incandescent bulbs can burn out or become red-hot to burst and ignite other decorations. The electrical wires and cords can fray, leading to short circuits or fire hazards.
If you don’t want to electrocute Santa Claus with your strings of fairy lights, follow the Christmas safety tip outline:
The Safety Guideline for All Types of Lights
You should be aware of these rules before putting up your holiday decor so that it does not end up in a disaster.
Check the code
Every area has a particular building code for electrical wiring. You have to know the details before starting the decoration. Also, every homeowner’s association (HOA) has its own regulations about holiday decorations. If you are a member of a group, learn the rules first.
Look for the tag
Never cut corners on twinkle lights for holidays. We fall for discounted products coming from dollar stores and flea markets. But, it’s not the right way to choose the lighting, wiring, and extension cords. Buy the ones that have the approval tag from a reputable testing laboratory. Two of the best-known Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL) laboratories are UL and ETL.
Use the right type
Not all the lights are same. Bulbs rated for indoor have thinner insulation. Exposing them to outdoor elements can crack or damage the glass. Make sure that the lights you string up belong there.
Check for issues
Inspect all the bulbs and cords before the installation. There could be loose joints, cracked cords, and frayed ends. Replace the burnt-out bulbs with new ones that have the correct wattage.
Overheated extension cords could be a problem, too. Touch them with your hand and replace the ones that feel hot.
Be aware of the Christmas tree
The best Christmas safety tip is to apply common sense. You know which things are the conductor of heat and electricity and how the use of defective products can lead to accidents. So, just avoid them and stay safe.
Don’t combine the electric lights with a dry or metal tree. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, they get reports of nearly 250 Christmas tree fires and 14 deaths from such accidents each year. A dry tree can burn your house down while a metal tree can electrocute someone or cause a fire from a short out.
Keep wires out of the way
It’s no-brainer that the wires and lights should be out of children’s reach. You should also bury the underground wiring at least 18 to 24 inches deep. Tape down the extension cords along the ground or walls to prevent accidental tripping over. Use bricks, solid plastic or wooden blocks to elevate the plugs and connectors to protect them from water, snow, and debris.
Avoid metal elements
Anything metal poses the risk of electrocution by conducting electricity. So, don’t use nails, screws, or tacks to hang the lights because they can incise the wires and electrify you. It’s better to use insulated hooks and holders to clamp the light strings.
If stored properly, you can use the same lights for the next holiday, too. Put them in an airtight container to safeguard them from moisture and rodents.
Christmas Safety Tip for Indoor Lights
You already know that indoor lights should be rated for indoor use. Don’t spend extra money on outdoor lights if it’s intended to be used inside the house. They are costlier because of having the weatherproof ratings. Some other precautions to follow are:
- Check if the smoke detector and safety switch are working before installing the lights.
- Unplug the lights on the tree before watering it.
- Turn off the lights before going to bed
Christmas Safety Tip for Outdoor Lights
The safest practice is to use only the lights that are rated for outdoors. Indoor lights are not risk-free for this purpose because they don’t come with the weatherproof ratings. The outdoor environment is damaging to them. Some of the additional safety standards to follow in this regard are:
- Check the IP (Ingress Protection) rating of the Christmas lights. It indicates how weatherproof the product is and how effective it is against foreign elements such as moisture and dirt. The higher the IR rating, the more durable the light is. You should buy a model that has at least IP23 rating.
- LED, solar-powered, and low-voltage lights are the safest options. Avoid incandescent bulbs as they overheat pretty quickly and can cause a fire.
- You must use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) for any outdoor electrical appliance. There are options for using portable units or a permanent installation.
- Keep the lights off when the weather is stormy.
- Make sure not to run any wire over driveway or walkway. These are heavy-traffic areas, and live wires always increase the chance of accidents. Shun the areas around the swimming pool too since water is an electrical conductor.
- The electrical leads should be away from water and wet areas. Also, don’t pass them through windows and doorways because the wooden and metal frames can damage the leads.
- Don’t use multiple high-powered lamps. They can overload the electric circuits and cause short circuits.
- The twinkle or fairy lights are low voltage. But, if you use high-voltage lamps such as halogen or floodlights, install them far from anything that is prone to catch fire. These lights can turn red-hot to the point of burning something.
- Don’t pull the strings of the Christmas lights with force. It can damage the cords and even lead to fraying. Also, wrap them loosely when putting in a storage container to not to rip or split the wires.
The Final Words
Before you flip the switch to dazzle everyone with a spectacular light show this holiday, take a few moments to ensure the safety and security of your family and guests. The quick Christmas safety tip checklist is a complete guide since it covers both indoor and outdoor installations.