Portions of this article are featured on Wikipedia at Christmas Lights
The Christmas holiday season comes with a great deal of fun and excitement; taking the kids to see Santa, visiting friends, seeing family and giving and receiving presents that can range from silly to serious make the season one a lot of us long for starting December 26th of every year.
Of course, the holiday lights are also a significant part of the enjoyment that comes with the Christmas season. But outdoor Christmas lighting safety should be a top priority if you’re using C7, C9, LED, net or Christmas spotlights. No matter what kind of lighting you choose, the traditional C7 and C9 holiday bulbs or the more environmentally friendly and energy saving LED bulbs, you risk having a fire if the lights are left on too long or if they’re placed near easily flammable items like paper or wood (an ingredient in a lot of homes they build today, I’m told).
Follow these rules for ultimate outdoor Christmas lighting safety:
- Never, never continue using lighting strands that have exposed wires. Don’t try to duct tape or even use electrician’s tape for a fast fix. Spend $7 and get a new set of lights. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Don’t try to change C7 or C9 bulbs without first unplugging the lights. This is outdoor Christmas lighting safety 101! If you’re worried you won’t know which light is bad, take a permanent marker and put an “X” or some other mark on the burnt out bulb.
- Don’t mix different sized or wattage bulbs on a strand. Again, this is outdoor Christmas lighting safety 101! You want the energy and electrical demands to be consistent for each bulb.
- Don’t connect more than the recommended maximum strands, and make sure you don’t have every strand of lights going back to one electrical socket. That’s a fast way to blow a fuse!
- Use lights only where they’re designed to be used; outdoor lights should go outside, and indoor lights should stay inside. Outdoor Christmas lighting safety 101 yet again!
- Don’t run lights 24/7. If you can’t be home when you want lights to come on and go off, use a timer so that the lights automatically turn on and off at a specific time.
- Never take shortcuts for the sake of convenience-there’s no faster way to lay the groundwork for a fire or electrical shock than by getting careless with outdoor Christmas lighting safety.
By Bob Carr, owner of TLC Incorporated, a premier outdoor lighting provider based in Gambrills, Maryland