Holiday lights are pure magic! The shimmer and sparkle, the feel you get when you see the lights, it’s unmatched! The glory of a tree set ablaze in multi-colored, white, or pure blue glow, just lovely.
While wrapping every inch of your porch or your front-yard in glowing bulbs sounds like an excellent plan, the safety and success of your holiday illumination venture depends largely on proper electrical protocols – designed to prevent injury and property damage.
According to The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), in 2004-2008, an estimated 1,170 home fires per year began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees. These fires caused an annual average of 8 deaths, 54 injuries, and $19.1 million in property damage.
When installing holiday lights in and around your home, you need to abide by the following:
- Plan your displays accordingly. Prior to decorating, determine how many outlets are available and where they are located.
- Inspect all electrical decorations for damage before use. Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires and loose connections may cause a serious shock, even start a fire.
- Make sure your electrical products are UL Listed, so you know your lights were manufactured properly. A red UL Listed label means that your holiday lights have been tested for rain, high humidity, and other outdoor situations. If your holiday lights have a green UL Listed label, it means that your holiday lights are suitable for indoor use only. Although a green UL listing is only suitable for indoor use, a red UL Listed holiday light can be used for outdoor or indoor use.
- When putting up outdoor decorations, make sure you only plug your lights into GFCI electrical outlets. Make sure you purchase a weather resistant GFCI outlet, for outdoor use only. All GFCI outlets will prevent shocking and all weather resistant outlets are tamper resistant. This makes them great for holiday lighting.
- Avoid overloading outlets and only plug one high-wattage appliance into each outlet. Overloaded outlets are a common cause of holiday fires.
- Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights. More than three strands may not only trip a circuit breaker, but also can cause a fire.
- Make sure spotlights used to illuminate decorations are well-ventilated, protected from weather and a safe distance from flammable items.
- Always unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.
- Turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or going to sleep.
- To avoid problems, always purchase electrical decorations and lights from reputable retailers.
Make your Holiday Season bright by putting safety first in everything you do!
Have questions? We’d love to help! Our experienced electricians fully support your desire to create a sparkly display that is the envy of your neighborhood. We will do all we can to help you install receptacles such as smart switches that are safe and easy to use! Reach out to us today!