Stay Lit – 8 Rules for Christmas Light Safety

It’s time to dust off your holiday decorations and spend two hours detangling Christmas lights. The first week of December is the perfect time to make your home festive indoors and out. But, of course, you can’t merely hang greenery and lights without some thought to safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 43% of Christmas tree fires involve electrical distribution or lighting equipment between 2012 and 2016. We want your Christmas to stay merry and bright—but maybe not as bright as a house fire. So, we’ve compiled the following Christmas light safety tips to keep your home safe and your decorations pristine.

 

1. Choose LED

LED lights stay cooler than incandescent, making them more energy-efficient and safe. They also use epoxy lenses instead of glass, and that increases their durability. And on top of that, LEDs last up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs.

 

2. Indoor vs. Outdoor: The Distinction is Important

Never use indoor lights outside. Indoor lights might be less expensive than the outdoor variety, but they aren’t as sealed against moisture. You can’t use them safely in wet weather.

 

3. Check Each Strand

Repair cracked or broken sockets, frayed wires, and loose connections before using a strand. If you can’t fix a string of lights, throw it away.

 

4. Keep an Eye on Them

Don’t leave illuminated lights unattended because you need to react quickly if they short and start a fire. Unplug them before leaving your home or heading to bed. You can even use remote controls or timers to make this easier.

 

5. Make Them Stable

Securely fasten your outdooring lights to your trees, roof, or siding so the wind can’t catch a strand and damage it. And, make sure to keep indoor lights in areas that your pets and children can’t access easily. You don’t want them chewing on wires.

 

6. Don’t Light Metal Trees

Never string lights on a metal tree. They could easily charge the tree and shock anyone who touches it.

 

7. Watch Your Strand-to-Outlet Ratio

As a rule of thumb, use only three strands of lights per outlet.

 

8. Take Care of Your Extension Cords

Keep extension cords away from melted snow or pools of water. Make sure they stay dry and use surge protectors to guard against voltage fluctuations.