For 120 years, people have been decorating their homes and Christmas trees with festive strings of lights. While they can bring warmth and joy to any room, they can also be dangerous if not installed correctly. Here are a few safety tips for holiday lighting so you can avoid a holiday disaster.
Buy the Safest Lights
When it comes to cheap holiday lights, you get what you pay for. It’s always better to spend the extra bucks if it means you’re getting the safest lights available. When buying holiday lights, check that they have been tested and rated by the Underwriter’s Laboratory. This independent, nonprofit group of scientists conduct research and testing to ensure products are as safe as they can be. You can tell your lights have been tested by the Underwriter’s Laboratory by looking for the large “UL” on the packaging.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Holiday Lighting
For those of us decorating the inside of our homes as well as the outside, it’s going to be important to make sure we’re using the correct lights. There is a difference between indoor and outdoor lights and they should be used appropriately for the safest results. Outdoor lights are made to handle the stresses of winter. Their heavily insulated wires and casings around the bulbs ensure moisture stays away from the electronics. They also have a UV inhibitor to protect the wires from the beating sun.
To check if your lights are rated for indoor or outdoor use, check for the “UL” label. Indoor lights will have a green “UL” whereas outdoor lights will have a red “UL”. Make sure you buy the safest lights and then install them appropriately.
Inspect Your Holiday Lights
Whether you bought new lights or are pulling old lights out of storage, it’s important to inspect them before using them. For new lights, you shouldn’t run into any problems, but it’s still a good idea to check first. For older lights, you could have any number of problems. Damaged or frayed wires, broken or missing bulbs, normal wear and tear are all things that can happen to holiday lights over time. Inspect your lights thoroughly before hanging them up or plugging them in to avoid any potential problems.
There’s no use hanging on to older holiday lights. Over the years, there’s no doubt that they’ve been well-used and well-loved, but it’s probably time to upgrade to the newer models. Newer holiday lighting options are far safer than those made in the past and they look a lot better too. The general rule of thumb is to replace your lights every five years. This will keep your family safe and your home looking beautiful and festive for the holiday season.
Manage Your Power
Making sure you’re properly utilizing your outlets, surge protectors, and extension cords will help you avoid costly and devastating fires this holiday season. When using surge protectors and extension cords, make sure you check wattage ratings. Then, check the output of your holiday lights. Never plug more lights into an extension cord or surge protector than what it can handle and, if you’re using it outside, make sure it’s rated for outdoor use. Fires happen every year because these are overburdened with lights or improperly used.
To help manage the power you’re using, invest in LED lights. These energy-efficient lights can be used indoors and outdoors. Not only do they use 75% less electricity than conventional holiday lights, but they also produce less heat and last up to 25 times longer. To top it all off, LED lights are just plain prettier. Their lights are vibrant and beautiful. It’s really a no brainer.
Safely Install Your Holiday Lights
Hanging holiday lights can be a real pain, especially if they get blown down by heavy wind or ripped down by heavy snow and ice. Not only is this infinitely frustrating, but it’s also dangerous. Make sure your holiday lighting is safely secured by investing in clips and hooks for Christmas lights. Don’t ever use tacks, staples, or nails to secure your holiday lights. Metal and electricity don’t really mix well.
Never Leave Your Lights Unattended
Finally, don’t leave your lights unattended. Holiday lighting demands a lot of power. If you decide to leave them unattended while you’re at work, you’re just leaving yourself open to any number of potential disasters. Invest in a surge protector with a timer to ensure your lights shut off automatically so you don’t have to worry about a fire.
Need Help With Your Holiday Lighting? Call the Pros.
Here at Grosse Ile Lawn Sprinkler & Fertilizing, we pride ourselves on our holiday lighting services. Not only do we come out to your property to safely install your holiday lights, with our leasing program, but we also provide the lights and the power cords. At the end of the season, we’ll take the lights down and store them ourselves. We offer service calls if anything were to go wrong with the lights and offer a 10% discount for returning customers.