One of the most recognizable signs of the holiday season is the lights hung on houses and bushes that add to the festive nature of the season. Some people like to drive around looking at the holiday lights and some especially impressive displays may draw people from miles around to take a look. While holiday light displays are nice to look at and add a festive element to the season, they can also be dangerous if they are set up carelessly. Holiday lights are a major fire risk indoors and outdoors and they must be put up properly to help reduce this risk. The following tips will help you safely put up your holiday lights to create an impressive display.
Inspect the Lights
Before you hang up any holiday lights indoors or outdoors, you should carefully inspect the lights to check for missing or broken bulbs as well as frayed wires. If a string of lights has frayed wires or broken sockets, it is best to throw it away and if you discover burnt out or broken bulbs, make sure you replace them with new bulbs of the same size and wattage. Leaving a light socket empty can overheat the string of lights and increase the risk of a fire. Handling and storing your holiday lights carefully will help prevent damage such as frayed wires and broken sockets that increase the risk of a fire.
Most holiday lights are built either for indoor or outdoor decoration with some lights able to be used for both settings. It is very important to check the label on a set of holiday lights to determine where they can be hung safely. Outdoor lights are weather and water resistant and can usually be used safely indoors as well. Indoor lights should never be used outdoors because they are not water resistant and the ice and snow can greatly increase the risk of electrical shocks and fire. Always check the label on the box if you are not sure.
It is also important to check the labels on your lights to determine how many strings can be connected together before becoming a fire hazard. Connecting too many strings of holiday lights will cause them to burn out and increase the risk of a fire. Many newer sets of holiday lights contain small fuses that help prevent them from burning out but if your lights do not have any of this information on the label, a good rule of thumb is to never connect more than 3 strings of lights together.
Extension Cord Use
Much like the holiday lights, certain extension cords are also built specifically for indoor or outdoor use. Make sure you use an extension cord outside that is weather resistant and do not connect too many extension cords together because this can cause them to overheat and increase the risk of a fire.
Turn Off the Lights
Although it may be tempting to leave them on all night, it is best to turn off your lights. Leaving the holiday lights on for extended periods of time will increase the risk of a fire as they will get warmer and use a lot of electricity. The best way to make sure your lights don’t stay on for too long is to connect them to a timer that will automatically turn them off.
Hanging up lights is a long standing holiday tradition but it must be done properly to avoid the potential fire risks. If a fire started by holiday decorations causes any damage to your home, make sure you immediately contact a fire damage restoration professional to handle the damage. Following the right safety precautions will help you hang your holiday lights properly so you can enjoy the display without worrying about the chance of a fire.