Holiday Lighting Safety Tips

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Tis the season to deck the halls! Along with wreaths, trees, and lawn decorations, holiday lights are a beautiful part of the celebrations. You might not be planning to string 25,000 incandescent lights on your house a la Clark Griswald in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, but these electrical safety tips matter just as much.

Inspect Lights for Damage

Begin by inspecting each set of lights, even new ones, for loose connections, frayed wires, or cracked or broken sockets. Replace any burned-out bulbs. Be sure to connect the strings together on the ground before hanging them on the house or tree.

Only Use Interior Lights Inside 

Both the indoor and outdoor lights you use should have a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) tag on them indicating they've been tested for safety. To avoid the risk of shock, electric lights should not be put on metallic trees.

Use Approved Hangers, Not Nails

Don't lay light strings directly on tree branches or needles. For indoor lights, use clips or twist-ties to keep the lit bulbs upright. Outdoors, avoid hanging light strings on nails or using staples to attach them to structures or trees. Instead use UL-approved gutter hooks or light clips to hold them in place.

Don't Overload Extension Cords

Never plug too many sets of lights into an outlet or extension cord and be sure to keep them away from water and metal objects. No more than three standard-size light sets should be put into one extension cord and never place extension cords through windows or under rugs and doors. They could become pinched or worn.

Outdoor lights should use a 3-prong grounded, weather-resistant extension cord with a UL label.

Use a Surge Protector

Indoors, using a surge protector is safer than using multiple outlets because if they overheat, the flow of power will be cut off. That doesn't mean you should overload surge protectors! The same tip for extension cords applies here.

Outdoor use of surge protectors is never a good idea. Your electrician can easily install outdoor outlets around the exterior of your home.

Don't Leave Them Up for a Long Time

Exterior lights should be taken down within 90 days to prevent weather-related damages or critters nibbling through them and exposing the wires.

Store Your Lights Properly

Lights should be safely stored after taking them down. Make sure they're untangled to prevent broken sockets and damaged cords. Remember, you'll only have to untangle them next year! A simple storage solution is wrapping the strings around sturdy pieces of cardboard and storing them all in a plastic container.

Have the Happiest of Holidays!

One final tip: If your home isn't outfitted with a fire extinguisher, or if the one you have hasn't been tested lately, now's a good time to consider getting one or making sure yours is in good working order. Most home fire extinguishers need to be replaced every five to 10 years. And be sure more than one person in your Jacksonville FL home knows how to use it.

David Gray Electrical Services wants you and your family to have a bright and safe holiday! From consultation to installation, our experienced electricians are here to answer any questions you have or provide any service you need. Contact us online today, or call us at 904-747-3776 to get started.

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