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Xmas lights and safety

Christmas Lights

Photo credit:Flickr/tonystl

Xmas lights and safety

By Carolyn Hauck on December 11, 2014

Christmas lights and candles are more than just festive decorations; they offer brightness and warmth in the darkening days of winter. Besides, what would Christmas be without them? Well, the statistics on the fires and damage they can cause are slightly staggering:

  • 1 of every 40 Christmas tree fires resulted in death
  • 1 of every 6 holiday fires is caused by a heat source to close to the tree
  • 1 of every 3 holiday light fires is caused by electrical problems
  • Winter home fires have cost U.S. households over 2 billion in property damage
  • Candle fires caused by decorations rise from 4% to 11% in December

The moral of the story? It’s important to be careful as you celebrate during the holiday season. So Ho, ho, hold the Christmas lights before you take these precautions:

 

Christmas lights inside your home:

  • Make sure your Christmas tree is far away from heating vents, other heat sources and candles.
  • Always turn off lights when you leave the house, according to FEMA most Christmas tree fires happen between 3 – 8pm.
  • Make sure to blow out candles when you leave the house, or even the room.
  • Don’t overload outlets or run extension cords underneath rugs or carpets.
  • Keep it to 3 strings of lights to each extension cord.

Christmas lights outside your home:

  • Make sure you are using lights manufactured for outdoor use. You can use outdoor lights indoors, but not the other way around.
  • Keep all wires off the ground, so that they are less likely to come into contact with moisture or puddles.
  • Note that transformers should make a buzzing sound, but not too loud, unless it’s a larger transformer.
  • You can install a GFI breaker on to the circuit, so they will shut off if they come in contact with water. You can also get a cover for your GFCI or any other outdoor outlet.

Hang up the lights with expert help. Home improvement experts can speak with you about your specific home and decorating safety.