Expert Electric Blog

Christmas Decorating Electrical Safety Tips

Christmas is just around the corner, and many families are decorating their homes. During the holiday season, when the sun sets early, decorative lights along the streets and homes can bring a sense of warmth during the cold and dark evenings. When decorating your home, take extra precautions so that your lighting installation is safe from electrical hazards.

Careful Light Placement & Attention

Ensure light bulbs don’t come in contact with flammable items (i.e. paper, cloth). Over time bulbs can generate heat and transfer this heat into nearby material that can lead to a fire. Although decorations look beautiful lying atop Christmas cloth, keep an eye on them if the lights are to be left on for a significant amount of time.

With this same issue in mind, don’t leave any lights unattended in the home. If you are leaving a room for an extended period of time, unplug the lights. Should a fire start, and no one is nearby to address it quickly, you could risk losing more than just a Christmas tree.

Hanging Christmas Lights

When hanging your lights do not use nails or staples that can penetrate the wires. If the protecting rubber and plastic is pierced, the exposed wires can lead to an electrical fire. The heat from the wires can heat up surrounding material and moisture exposure can cause sparks.

Ensure your lights are rated for outdoor use should they be used on the outside of your home. Some lights tend to be more delicate and not weatherproofed and are intended for indoor use only. Should it rain or snow, you may find it necessary to replace all the lights on the exterior of your home.

Once the holiday season has come to an end, take down the lights. Christmas decorations and lights are not designed to be exposed to the elements 365 days a year. After an extended period of harsh weather and temperature fluctuations, wires can deteriorate. This means that you could risk an electrical fire if you do not replace the lights. Saving time and effort by leaving your lights up year-long can cost you money.

Connecting Lights Properly

When connecting strands of lights, check each connection carefully so that it is tight and secure. The connection prongs can become exposed during wind gusts. If they are already exposed you can risk experiencing electrical surges when exposed elements come in contact with the elements.

You also want to avoid overloading power outlets and extension cords. Too many strands attached to the same extension cord, or chained extension cords can be dangerous. A good rule of thumb is to limit the strand length to no more than three chains of lights.

The Christmas season can be warm and inviting, but without the proper precautions you can risk losing more than just a few presents under the tree. Take some extra time when decorating this season to ensure that your family and home are protected. For more information or for a help from a licensed electrician, contact your local Expert Electric at 604-681-8338.