This is the season to decorate with lights and signs. If you love to decorate for the holidays, you may not be aware that decorations, although inherently safe, can be dangerous under the right conditions. There are a few tips that can make your efforts to sparkle and shine both inside and out, much safer. Here are some tips from for safe holiday decorating.
Tips to decorate safely
- Choose holiday decorations made with flame-resistant or non-combustible materials. Never leave an open flame unattended, including candles and fireplaces.
- Use LED holiday lights instead of regular incandescent light strands. LED lights to use less electricity, generate less heat, and can last 50 times longer than incandescent lights.
- Carefully inspect each electrical decoration. Cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a severe shock or start a fire.
- Follow the use and care instructions that accompany electrical decorations, and always unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.
- Keep young children away from holiday lights, electrical decorations, and extension cords to prevent electrical shock and burn injuries.
- Use only electrical decorations and lights that have been approved for safe use by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
- Turn off and unplug all electrical decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage.
- Use only weatherproof electrical devices for outside activities. Protect outdoor electrical devices from moisture.
- Exercise caution when decorating near power lines. Contact with a high voltage line could lead to electrocution.
- Plug outdoor electric lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to prevent electrical shock. Portable GFCIs provide flexibility in using receptacles that are not GFCI protected and are often used outdoors. Remember always to push the test button to ensure the unit is operating correctly.
The last thing you want to do is to decorate and increase the chance of an electrical fire. Our licensed and certified electricians have been in the business of replacing outlets, repairing lighting for residential customers and doing light- electrical work for businesses since 1954. If you think you might have an electrical issue or need some advice, call CM Mose. Better safe than shocking!
This article was originally posted in December 2012 and has been updated.