Covering your house in colorful lights for the holidays can be fun, exciting, and even beautiful. However, you should take caution when dealing with a large quantity of lights; there is a lot of electricity involved. A few things should be on your safety checklist.
Before you go hanging lights on your house or yard, be sure to check for any cracks or frays in the wires. Make sure there are no loose connections or damage.
Be especially careful with the lights you hang on the Christmas tree. If the tree is not artificial, be sure to water it sufficiently so it does not dry out. In addition, turn off the tree lights when leaving the house and going to bed. Believe it or not, the U.S fire department estimates about 230 household fires are caused by Christmas trees annually. As a result, there is an average of six deaths and 22 injuries annually.
Ensure that your strands of lights have fused plugs that prevent sparks if they short out. If bulbs have burned out, replace them with the correct power rated bulbs.
Try to keep an eye on the sockets that you are using. Keep water and debris clear from the sockets. It is also a good idea to have a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet for additional safety. Do not plug too many lights into one outlet. Limiting the amount of extension cords can reduce the risk of fire too. Check that the extension cords are not running too hot to the touch. In addition, the connections between two extensions should be clear of water and debris. It is best to elevate these jointing points.
Do not use nails or screws to hang the lights because they can pierce the wire. It is important to note that there are lights that are specifically rated for outdoor use. You would not want to use indoor rated lights outside because they will crack and weaken in cold weather and the exposed elements.
Lastly, don’t overdo it. I know you all want to one-up Clark Griswold, but an excessive amount of lights only increases the risk for fire. Be sure to turn off all lights when leaving your home. Have a fun, safe and happy holiday!