Fires are one of the most expensive disasters that can happen to your home. It is something to be avoided at all costs, and you should be especially careful during the holiday season. Christmas lights are magical, but they can also be a potential risk for fire. Here are some tips to help you keep your home safe during the holiday season.
- For your Christmas tree make sure to only use lights that are rated for indoor use and tested for safety. The label should say if it is an indoor or outdoor rated light.
- If you have a metallic Christmas tree we would recommend not using electric lights because of the increased risk of shorting or shock.
- When you are getting your Christmas lights out check the cords, bulbs, and sockets for any wear or exposure of wires. Replace any damaged bulbs or light strands. Usually, fires are started by a wire shorting out.
- Most people already know this, but do not plug more than three strands of lights into each other. Never overload circuits or plugs in your home. LED lights don’t have the same energy requirements, so you might be able to plug more than three strands together. Always follow the manufacturers instructions.
- If you leave your home or go to bed, unplug your lights. Many of the fires caused by lights are started during the evening or when people aren’t home.
- Keep your pets away from your Christmas tree. They could potentially knock the tree over, which could cause an issue. The other danger is that your pet might chew the light cable. Cords that have exposed wires should never be used since they can easily cause a short. Most fires are not started from the heat of Christmas lights, but from wires shorting.
- Similar to using indoor lights indoors, only use exterior lights outside. Outside lights are exposed to the elements and need to be weatherproof and this includes the extension cords.
- Fasten lights securely to your house, trees, etc. We would suggest not using nails or staples because they can easily cut through a cord and cause a power short. There are approved hangers that should be used for outdoor lights.
- Do not keep your lights up longer than 3 months since after that time they can start to be damaged by weather or animals.
- Carefully store lights when you are done using them. Tangles can strain and damage the cables. Use a piece of cardboard or a board and wrap the lights around it to keep them from getting tangled. It will also be much simpler to use them next year.
- NEVER use real candles to decorate a Christmas tree. This is a perfect way to burn your house down. Always use LED candles instead.
- If you decorate your home with candles, only use non-flammable candle holders.
- Place candles where they can’t be blown over or knocked down.
- Always be careful where you place your candles, and keep them away from any material that could be flammable. Especially drapes or decorations.
- Always blow candles out if you leave the room, your home, or go to bed. Unattended candles are one of the leading causes of house fires.
Thankfully it is a pretty low percentage of homes that suffer fire from Christmas lights, but it is still possible. Many of the scenarios that can cause fires seem unlikely and many simple actions would prevent fires.