Holiday decorating with lights is fun! And it can increase the chance of a house fire. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 400 house fires are caused by holiday lights and decorations annually. Follow simple step to keep your home and family safe.
Maintain holiday lights. Inspect holiday lights each year. Look for frayed wires, broken sockets, and other signs of wear. Test each light string before hanging and use lights approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL).
Make the right connection. Do not connect more than three strings of lights nor route extension cords under rugs or near walkways. Outside, keep electrical connections off the ground and clear of downspouts, railings and aluminum siding.
Use the right lights. Outside, use only lights and power strips approved for outdoor decorating.
Don’t leave lights unattended. Turn off or unplug holiday lights late at night and when away from home. It is safer and will save energy. Use a timer to automatically turn lights on and off at a set schedule.
Use nonflammable decorations. If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have a UL label.
In addition to safety, think about energy efficiency. Light-emitting diode (LED) holiday lights provide the same bright colors you are used to, but they use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last up to 25 times longer. LEDs are cool to the touch, which reduces the risk of fire hazard indoors and outside.
~ Tips courtesy of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company.