Updated: Jan 22
Well, its that time of year again to spread some holiday cheer through putting up Christmas lights inside and outside your home. Here are some tips for keeping your house safe and incident free.
Tip #1 Check your Old Electrical Lights and Decorations
- Check all your strings of lights for damage and burnt out lights. Replace any bulbs with ones recommended by the manufacturer.
- Ensure that you are using products as directed. Only use lights/decorations that are rated for outdoor use outside and ones that are rated for indoor use inside only.
Tip #2 Check your Extension Cords
- Check all your extension cords for wear and replace any frayed or broken ones with new ones
- Ensure that you are using indoor rated extension cords indoors only and not outside
- Do not hook up multiple extension cords together as this can cause a potential fire hazard
Tip #3 Do Not Leave Lights Up All Year
- Do not leave your lights up outside from last year because you don't want to take them down. They are only meant for temporary seasonal lighting. Birds, squirrels and other rodents will most likely damage them over time and cause an unsafe condition when you go to plug them in the following year.
They will also degrade with rain, snow, sun, and wind degrading them all year long as well.
Tip #4 Use LED Lighting(preferred)
- LEDS use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent lights
- Incandescent lights produce heat and cold be a potential fire hazard if in the right situation
- LEDS last about 25 times longer than traditional lighting
Tip #5 Use Timers
- Timers will automate your displays so that they come on only when you want them to
- Use of timers will save you money on your electric bill as your displays don't be left on
- Timers come in many forms, from wall timers installed in the place of a switch indoors, to plug in timers, to mechanical timers where you can plug in multiple items at once.
- Lights left unattended can cause unintended consequences like premature light burnout to even electrical fires
Tip #6 Check your Home Electrical
- This one often gets overlooked. Inspect your electrical outlets to ensure that they are in good working order.
- A key one is to check your GFCI receptacle outside to ensure that it is functioning properly. All your Christmas lighting starts at the source, your home electrical system.
- Consult with your local electrician for any repair work you might need
Tip #7 Buy Quality Lighting and Decorations
- Ensure when purchasing new electrical Christmas gear that it has the proper certifications to be legal for use in Canada. Look for the symbols like CSA, cUL, or cETL.
- It also might be a good idea to check to make sure that there are no recalls on any products purchased. You can check here at: Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts Database
- Finally, buy quality products. Cheapest may not last the longest or may break unexpectedly
Tip #8 Fasten All Your Lighting/Decorations
- Use lighting clips for all your lighting and secure them to what you want to light up.
- Use tie wraps to secure your decorations to hard to attach to object. That way they can be easily removed later once the season is over
- Use stakes or heavy objects to weight down objects that might be carried away by the wind outside
Tip #9 Ladder Safety Tips
- Between 2000 and 2003, there was an annual average of about 5,800 injuries from falls occurring while people were hanging their holiday decorations, with 43 percent occurring on ladders
- Ensure that ladders are fully open and on even ground when in use
- If you are using a ladder against a building, ensure that a 4:1 ratio is maintained
- If you are going up high on a ladder, make sure that you have a spotter so that you don't go for a ride
- Do not step on the top of the ladder and use the ladder only as directed by the manufacturer
Tip #10 Don't Overload Outdoor lighting
- While this might seem obvious, this causes electrical fires every year.
- When connecting electrical lighting, only connect the same type of lights together as a general rule
- When connecting large amounts of lights read and follow manufacturer instructions on how many strings of lights can be connected together on one extension cord. Newer strings of lights have in-line fuses built in as a safety precaution, but many older ones do not.