6 tips for safely decking your halls with holiday lights

6 tips for safely decking your halls with holiday lights

1 Inspect all cords, strands and bulbs before hanging. Look for connections, frayed wires, burn marks and dry or cracked cords. Do not use any holiday lighting that has these signs. If the loose connection cannot be repaired, purchase new lighting.

2 Secure lights properly. Outdoor lights should only be hung using insulated hooks. Metal hooks, nails and staples can cut the cord causing shorts and electrical shock. Indoor tree lighting should only be placed on trees that are fresh and green. Artificial trees should be checked for spurs before putting lighting on the tree. The heat of Christmas lights on dry trees can cause a fire.

3 Use correct electrical outlets. Homes have a variety of outlets. Holiday lighting should always be connected into a ground fault interrupter outlet. Doing so reduces the risk of shock and shorts in the wiring. This is especially important with outdoor lighting because outdoor outlets can get debris in them and a ground fault interrupter will help mitigate the debris from causing shorts.

4 Prevent tripping hazards. Always secure extension cords that run along the ground with tape, placing them under rugs or running them along the edges of rooms. This prevents people from tripping over them and keeps high traffic areas clear for walking.

5 Use lights for intended purposes. Lights intended for outdoor use only should never be used indoors. Lights have ratings that are usually identified by a tag on the light cord. Check the rating and use guidelines on the light cord before hanging or plugging it in.

6 Turn lights off when not in use. Turning lights off when not in use not only saves on the electric bill but it is also for safety reasons. Lights should only be kept on when someone is home to monitor them. Lights left on when they are not being properly watched can be a potential fire hazard.

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