Safety · Seasonal · Tips and Tricks

Holiday Lighting Safety

Most of us grew up watching Chevy Chase play Clark Griswold in the classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie.  Although it was hilarious to watch as he dangerously overloaded electrical outlets while putting up the exterior lights and when the Christmas tree went up in flames, it would be devastating if these things happened in our homes. While we delight in the sparkle and beauty of the season, there is an inherent danger of fire when using Christmas lights. Don’t be a Clark Griswold!

Use LED lights instead of incandescent lamps that can be hot to the touch.  Not only can they be a fire hazard, but incandescent bulbs can burn children’s hands and pet’s noses. No matter how long you leave your LED strands on, they will remain cool to the touch. With all the garland and ornaments that reside next to and on top of Christmas lights on the tree, it’s critical to be aware of this potential fire issue.

It’s easy to want to keep connecting strand after strand of twinkling lights onto our Christmas trees, but make sure you don’t connect more than three strands together.  It is a fire hazard.  Be careful not to overload your circuit either.  By using LED lights on your tree, you are using only about 20% of the electricity used by incandescent strands.   LED lights reduce the load on your circuits and lower your energy bill. Exterior LED bulbs provide the same benefits for the exterior of our homes as well.

Before you begin the task of wrapping lights inside and outside your home, save yourself a lot of trouble and inspect each strand before hanging.  Make sure to only use lights that have been tested by a laboratory. The lights should also be labeled for indoor or outdoor use. Check for loose wires and damaged plugs.  If you need to replace a bulb or fuse, unplug them first.

Even with your best efforts, a fire can still occur.  Before the holiday season begins, talk to your Colonial agent about your homeowners policy to make sure you’re covered for holiday mishaps.  If you have a Cousin Eddie coming to visit, you may just want to bump up your policy.

Read more at AAAtalks.com.

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