Most of these recommendations are common sense, please be safe and enjoy your Holidays!
General Safety Tips
- Choose lights that have been tested and approved by a reputable testing laboratory such as UL. Approval will be indicated on the packaging.
- Holiday lights are NOT intended for permanent installation or use.
Consider using the new LED lights which are cooler burning, use 90% less electricity and last up to 100,000 hours. Recycle your old lights through Ace Hardware’s holiday light recycling program.
- Inspect all of your lights for the following: damaged or frayed wires, cracked or broken sockets, damaged or broken plugs or any loose connections. Recycle any old or damaged lights at your local Ace Hardware Store. Never replace the plug on a string of holiday lights. The plugs contain special safety devices which are not available in replacement plugs from the hardware store.
- Be careful on ladders. For a reminder of important ladder safety tips, please read my previous post on ladder safety.
- Do not overload your electrical circuits. An overloaded circuit will cause the breaker to trip. If you experience nuisance tripping of breakers because of an overloaded circuit, DO NOT replace the existing breaker with one of higher amperage. The limitation on electrical circuits is a result of the wire size not the amperage of the breaker.
- When you leave or go to bed at night, turn off your lights.
- Use lights that are designated for outdoor use. The packaging will indicate whether the lights can be used indoors, outdoors, or both.
- Plug outdoor lights into a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) protected circuit. If one is not available, or if you are unsure if the circuit is GFCI protected, then consider using a portable GFCI protected power cord.
- Use extension cords properly. Outdoor cords can be used inside or outside. Do not overload extension cords – they can get hot enough to burn.
- Stay away from power lines or feeder lines (these go from the pole to the house).
Secure outside holiday lights with insulated holders (never use tacks or nails) or run strings of lights through hooks.
- Never put lights on metal trees. It is not only a shock hazard but can cause a fire, too.
- Use mini-lights or LED lights especially on live trees. Both types of lights do not get as hot as the larger traditional lights.
- Verify the manufacturers instructions regarding the maximum number of strings that can be connected continuously (usually 3 is the maximum).
- Do not mount or place lights near gas or electric heaters, fireplaces, candles or other similar sources of heat.