Ho, Ho, Hold up before you start hanging the first of your holiday lights or plugging in your tree this Christmas. According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in more than two of every five (44%) home Christmas tree fires between 2013 and 2017.
Though rare, electrical fires are a concern during the holidays. You have all the right ingredients to set something ablaze: an often dry tree, electrical equipment, lights, and overloaded outlets.
But we don’t want to be a total Scrooge about the holidays. There are plenty of ways to relax, have fun, and light up your home – all while staying safe indoors and outdoors.
Outdoor Holiday and Christmas Lighting Safety Tips
Tip #1: Adjust electrical displays during dry weather.
We’re quite fortunate that we enjoy ample dry weather before the holidays. It gives homeowners time to safely hang outdoor electrical displays. However, if it does rain, do NOT attempt to hang lights or run electricity through your yard. Water is an excellent carrier of electricity, and one false move could give you quite a shock.
Tip #2: Have the proper equipment
Fixtures, cords, and bulbs used should all be for outdoor or indoor-outdoor use only. Indoor lights are not suited for the extreme temperatures or moisture that we experience during the winter months. Make sure you read the packaging carefully to ensure maximum safety.
Tip #3: Stay away from power lines
If you like to go all “Griswold” during Christmas, be extra careful hanging up lights around your roofline or in trees. Survey the area for power lines and maintain as much distance as possible.
Tip #4: Don’t overload your extension cords
Ideally, you should plug no more than three sets of standard lights into an extension cord. If you realize you’re running out of outlets and cords, consider switching to solar-powered Christmas lights that don’t require a plug at all.
Tip #5: GFCI is your outdoor friend
For increased protection during the holiday season, plug outdoor displays and decorations into plugs with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). How do you know if your plugs have GFCI protection? You’ll see the test/reset buttons on them.
These plugs save lives by detecting an interruption in the circuit and shutting off, whereas other types of plugs are prone to circuits overheating if there are frayed wires or too much moisture.
Indoor Holiday and Christmas Lighting Safety Tips
Tip #6: Be cautious about overloading your extensions
As it is for outdoor use, you must be sure not to use more than three sets of standard lights on each extension cord.
Tip #7: Placement is key
Lights (and other electrical displays inside the house) should be kept away from carpeting, soft furniture, drapes, Christmas tree skirts, or anything else flammable.
Tip #8: Care for your cords
Homeowners should place cords out of the reach of small children or animals that could tear or chew through the protective outside. Keep cords off the ground in high-traffic areas of your home, and avoid placing cords through windows or doors (that could damage them).
Tip #9: Turn them off when not in use
Many holiday lights come with plugs that act as self-timers. Homeowners set their lights to display from dawn to dusk or 4-6 hours at night. A good rule of thumb is to turn everything off if you’re asleep or leave the house.
Tip #10: A good defense is a good offense
Savvy homeowners know how to make smart electrical decisions for the inside and outside of their homes. With all of the electricity and energy used during the winter, families, and neighborhoods strain electrical grids, leading to surges.
Protect your home with Whole Home Surge Protection. Our experts will talk you through everything it entails and how it could ultimately save your sanity and keep your family safe this holiday season.
Call Dixie, And It’s Done!
To schedule a service with Dixie, call 334.328.3570 for Montgomery, or call 334.246.4914 for Auburn. You can also schedule an appointment online. For emergency service and immediate assistance, please call our 24/7 service line at 334.328.3570.