Holiday Prep Profile: Christmas Lights
Thanksgiving has just passed and we here at SERVPRO of West Brown County in Green Bay hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday!
As you recover from turkey and pumpkin pie overload, you might already be starting to look ahead to what’s next…we’re talking the big one…Christmas!
It might seem early to some, late to others, but for many it’s time to start planning your holiday decorations, including lights! As always, we’re here to help…well, we can’t come hang your lights for you, but we HAVE compiled a list of helpful tips to keep you safe while you turn your home into a winter wonderland!
Christmas lights are beautiful, but they do come with safety concerns whether they’re hanging inside or outside your home. They can be responsible for fires and injuries during the hanging process. According to the National Fire Protection Association, holiday decorations cause 860 house fires each year (that number does NOT include fires caused by Christmas trees).
So, please, take this advice and be safe.
Starting with indoor Christmas light decorations, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) advises the following:
- Use LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than incandescent lights.
- If you DO use incandescent lights, never connect more than three strands together.
- Plan your light displays according to the outlets in your home.
- Carefully inspect each electrical decoration. Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.
- Follow all the manufacturer’s directions for displaying lights.
- Do not overload electrical outlets.
- Make sure wires and chords are not pinched in doors, windows or under anything heavy. Ensure wires are not twisted.
- Turn off all decorations before leaving the house or going to sleep.
Now that we’ve taken a look inside, let’s take a look outside. The ESFI recommends these steps when hanging holiday lights outdoors:
- Make sure any lights or extension cords you plan to use are marked for outdoor use.
- Match power needs (amperage) of electrical products with amperage rating of extension cords.
- Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
- Inspect all lights, decorations and extension cords before using.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, the house, or other firm supports to protect them from wind damage, but take care not to attach the lights in a way that could damage the cord’s insulation.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices. They can overheat and cause a fire.
- Do not mount or support light strings in a way that might damage the cord’s insulation.
- As with the indoor lights, turn off all outdoor lights before leaving home or going to bed.
And finally, make sure you get the lights up without hurting yourself. To do so, ESFI says:
- Inspect ladders for loose or missing screws, hinges, bolts, and nuts before using.
- Use wooden or fiberglass ladders. Don’t use metal ladders, as they conduct electricity.
- Use the correct ladder height, ensuring the ladder extends beyond the height of the roof by at least 3 feet.
- When decorating keep yourself and your equipment at least ten feet away from powerlines.
Have fun and get creative this holiday season, but make sure, as always, to keep yourself, your family and your home safe!
And should you ever need us for holiday mishaps, like fire damage, water damage, mold and more, call us anytime (even on Holidays themselves!) at 920-434-8224.