Holiday lighting carries a special kind of magic and is a fun way to decorate inside and outside of the home. Sadly, far too many people are injured and die each year as a result of either faulty wiring or faulty practices. However, by implementing safe holiday lighting practices, you can ensure the safety of your family and home and enjoy the holiday without suffering a tragic loss because of an accident that could have been prevented. Since many holiday fires are started from holiday lights, it is crucial to ensure that you are only using safe electrical components and that your holiday lighting is working properly.
Indoor and Outdoor Lights
There are many electrical components that are rated for indoor and outdoor use and holiday lighting is no exception. Make sure you are only using lighting and extension cords outside that have been rated for outside use. Indoor lights and extension cords are not designed to be protected from the elements and it can be very dangerous for water and electricity to mix if the proper components are not used.
For the most part, the same electrical safety rules apply for holiday lighting as applies for safe electrical practices every day. Unfortunately, sometimes during the holidays we get so caught up in the excitement of decorating that we neglect to use the same safe practices that we use on an everyday basis. Just like you wouldn’t run an indoor cord right across the living room where everyone walks, don’t run holiday lights in an area where people will be forced to step on the cords and don’t be tempted to hide them under a rug either because this could result in worn or frayed cords, which could cause a fire or electrical shock.
If you’re going to hang electric lights and need to clamp them in order to secure them, be sure you use only plastic or plastic coated clips to secure them. Never use any fasteners made of metal as this could be dangerous. Also, for both indoor and outdoor lights, always unplug them when you leave the home and always plug them when you go to sleep.
Don’t skimp on safety. Only purchase lights and extension cords that are UL listed. For awkward areas that may be difficult to run an extension cord to, consider using battery powered lights to avoid any chance of accident or injury. Again, practice the same electrical safety practices with holiday lights that you do during the rest of the year in order to avoid accidents and injury. Don’t gamble on worn or frayed cords and don’t use so many lights that you overload circuits. No one should be afraid of electricity but a healthy respect of it will go a long way toward keeping you and your family safe.