Christmas Lights Safety Considerations
It is a wonderful time of year, however you should be cautious and careful with the placement of Christmas lights throughout your home. Although current technology has certainly improved the overall safety of Christmas lights, there remains the normal, everyday issues that can cause safety hazards around the home, if the lights are not properly installed.
A few basic thoughts and concerns;
- If the budget will allow, the discarding of old lights and the replacement with cool to the touch operating, LED lighting is the overall safest action you can initiate.
- The LED lights do not get hot, and will not short circuit in the same aggressive manner as some of the older Christmas light strings.
- The energy used by LED lighting is y significantly less than the electrical energy required to operate the older incandescent lights.
- The electrical power draw, is much less, for the LED lights than the older incandescent lights, and radically reduces any issues or concerns with overheating of cords as well as outlets.
- Always use UL labeled lights and cords. Do not use extremely inexpensive lights or cords that have not been tested to UL standards.
- Never try to repair or modify light strands or electrical cords. The expense of replacing old, or worn lights and cords is relatively insignificant to the overall dangers that worn or outdated lights and cords can create.
- Try to minimize the multiple cords or lights in each outlet or power strip. Although the new LED lights require much less energy and do not excessively heat up, it remains a good practice to try to stagger the lights amongst numerous outlets or electrical sources.
- Do not locate or place cords or light strands under table, sofa, or other “ pinch points” that could compromise the insulation around the cords or light strips.
- Do not locate or place the cords or light strands close to a wood stove, fireplace or other hot surfaces, such as a portable electric heaters. The insulation can be compromised by heat, and could cause an electrical short circuit if the live conductors become exposed.
- Do not allow children to bite or play with the cords or light strands. Serious injury could occur if a child were to bite into, or break the insulation off the wires.
- Be aware of the location of pets around the Christmas lighting. The infamous scene that occurred in the movie Christmas Vacation, where a cat is electrocuted by chewing on the Christmas Tree wiring is not an enjoyable real life episode. Make sure that pets are kept away from electrical cords and Christmas lights.
- Care should be taken when accessing exterior Christmas Lights, not only due to the fact that they are outside in the exterior environment, there is also ice and snow that you could slip on when accessing the Christmas Lights.
- Always use exterior lights for an exterior application. These lights are specifically engineered and designed to resist exterior moisture and temperature extremes. Do not use interior lights on the exterior.
- Caution should be used when installing Christmas Lights due to the normally high locations that they are installed. Whether you are on a ladder, inside or outside, caution should be used.
- When removing the lights, carefully loop the lights in a large circular type of arrangement and secure the loops of lights with a plastic zip tie.
- Store the lights in a dry moderate environment that does not get overly hot or cold. The attic is usually not a great place to store the lights, due to the excessive temperature fluctuations.
- Once the lights are installed, care must be taken to tape down the resultant cords or any electrical wiring that is located along the floor. Tripping hazards are great when the electrical cords are located along the floor, or in an area of substantial traffic. Duct tape over the cords to secure them firmly down, is suggested.
- If the lights are being installed with a hammer and nail, use insulated u shaped staples that are designed to be used to secure light strands. Do not use standard screws or nails when installing Christmas lights.
- If during the installation of the lights, you happen to damage and compromise the light string. Throw it away and buy another. The cost of the lights is minimal in comparison to the potential of creating a safety hazard, if the light string is compromised.
If you use your common sense, use new Christmas lights that have LED bulbs, your Christmas Light installation should be both safe and inspirational.
Enjoy your Holidays and make the investment in all new LED Christmas Lights!!