One of the best parts of the holiday season is spending time to decorate. Maybe you are stringing icicle lights along the top of your home or displaying a Christmas figurine in your yard. No matter what your plans are with lights, be sure that you are using and installing them safely. Here are a few tips on using Christmas lights properly:
- Whether you are stringing lights inside or outside (or both), be sure to check thoroughly for cracked or frayed cords. Make sure there are no loose connections as well.
- If you are using a live Christmas tree, keep it well-watered. Warm lights on a dry tree could be disastrous.
- If you have old strands of lights, it may be time to upgrade to a safer option. Newer versions of lights have fused plugs, which will prevent sparks if a short circuit occurs.
- Use a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet, or GFCI, to plug in outdoor lights. This will reduce the risk of shorts and shocks from water or debris entering the outlets.
- Extension cords are known to overheat, so keep a close eye on them. If the cord becomes too hot, unplug it.
- Avoid tacks, nails or screws when hanging lights. These could pierce the cable, risking electrical shock. Insulated hooks are the safe alternative.
- Securely tape ground-level extension cords to reduce the risk of tripping and falling.
- When using lights outdoors, check to be sure that they are labeled for outdoor use. Indoor lights are usually made with thinner insulation which could cause them to crack when exposed to outside elements.
- Turn all lights off when you leave the house or go to sleep for the night.
It’s easy to get tangled up in all of the excitement of the approaching holidays and enjoying the decorations, but take a few minutes to think about these ideas. Safe practices will benefit everyone in the household.