Home Electrical Tips for a Safer Holiday Season

It’s that time of year that we all tend to channel our inner Clark Griswold and decorate the house with “thousands of twinkling lights”. But, decorators beware! According to the National Fire Protection Association, holiday lights and other decorative lighting with line voltage are involved in an estimated average of 160 home structure fires each year, causing an average of nine civilian deaths, 13 civilian injuries, and $9 million in direct property damage. Electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in two-thirds of those fires.  In addition, 12 percent of home candle fires occurred in December; which is 1.5 times the monthly average the rest of the year.

When planning and implementing your lighting design, keep these holiday lighting safety tips in mind to help reduce your risk of property damage, injury or death.

  • Unlike incandescent bulbs which generate most of their energy in heat, LEDs are cool to the touch—which also indicates greater energy-efficiency, not to mention safer for little hands!
  • LEDs are made with epoxy lenses, not glass and are much more durable.
  • When hanging lights outdoors, use a wooden or fiberglass ladder
  • Turn off all indoor and outdoor holiday lighting before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Never drape anything over a light bulb or lamp shade.
  • Avoid using candles when possible. Consider using battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles.
  • Never leave an open flame unattended. Keep burning candles within sight.
  • Extinguish all candles before you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Place lighted candles away from combustible material and areas where they might be knocked over.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.
  • Keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper.  Do not burn wrapping paper.

Keep these tips in mind and have a much merrier holiday season!

And as always, it’s a great idea to have an electrical safety inspection by your friends at Mister Sparky!

Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI)