Christmas Lighting Tips for a Safe and Festive Holiday
- November 25, 2019
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Ever since the first string of Christmas lights was hung up in 1880, the popularity of these festive lights has exploded. Now, people compete for the biggest, brightest, and most intricate holiday displays. Unfortunately, when not hung safely, Christmas lights can be dangerous. Here are a few Christmas lighting tips to ensure you and your family are safe this holiday season.
There’s no point in buying the cheapest lights you can find if they end up catching fire and causing thousands of dollars worth of damage, or worse. When it comes to Christmas lighting, it’s essential to make sure you’re only buying the safest lights available. Only buy lights that have been tested and rated by the Underwriter’s Laboratory. You can find the prominent “UL” mark on lights that have passed the safety tests.
Yes, there is most certainly a difference between indoor and outdoor holiday lights. When installing Christmas lights outside, it’s important that you only use lights that are rated for outdoor use. These outdoor lights are made tougher with heavier gauge wires. The insulation around the wires includes an ultraviolet light inhibitor to help the wires withstand hours of direct sunlight. They are properly sealed to defend against excess moisture too. Remember to check the labels when you’re buying your Christmas lighting. Check for the red “UL” label, indicating your lights are tested by the Underwriter’s Laboratory and are rated for outdoor use.
After pulling your lights out of storage, make sure you thoroughly inspect them. Check for frayed wires from rodent activity or normal wear and tear. You’ll want to check the bulbs and plugs too so you can be sure that the Christmas lights that you hang are safe. Repair or replace any damaged lights before using them.
The next step in safely installing your Christmas lights is to check your extension cords. Not only should you be sure you have enough and that they’re long enough, but you’ll also want to make sure they can handle the amount of power running through them. Usually, it’s ok to plug in three strands of lights to one extension cord. If you’re using LED lights, then you can stretch this to four or five strands per extension cord. Be sure to have a sufficient length of extension cords for the number of lights you plan to hang.
Before you start plugging things in, check the wattage ratings for your cords and your lights. If your lights require more than your cords can handle, then overheating and fires can occur. It’s also important to make sure your cords are designed for outdoor use.
Nothing’s worse than having your Christmas lights, which you just put up, get ripped down by high wind or heavy snow and ice. Not only is this a pain because you have to get back up there, but it’s also dangerous too. Use Christmas light clips and hooks to safely secure your Christmas lighting. Never use staples, nails, or tacks.
Let’s face it, old Christmas lights are dangerous. Over the past 140 years, Christmas lights have gotten safer and more efficient. Safety is the most important thing to keep in mind when putting up your Christmas lights and if your lights are older than five years, then it’s time to get some new ones.
It’s never a good idea to leave your holiday lights unattended. You can minimize the threat of a costly fire by investing in a timer or remote for your lights. This will ensure your lights turn off automatically after a certain amount of time, minimizing the threat of a fire while you’re away.
Finally, the best thing you can do when it comes to safety and efficiency is to invest in LED lights. These lights are great for indoor and outdoor, they produce less heat, and last up to 25 times longer than traditional lights. Not only that, but they also use 75% less electricity.
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