The holidays are just around the corner, and you’re getting ready to drag the tinsel out of the attic and start decking the halls. Before you string lights around the tree and along the rooftop, be sure you’re following a few safety precautions to avoid accident or injury this Christmas season:
Play it safe.
First, avoid buying Christmas lights from a secondhand source — you’ll have less ability to properly judge the quality of the lights, leaving you exposed to potential danger. When you do purchase your own lights, check the labels! If the lights have been tested for safety, it will say so on the label. Also, be sure to always switch the lights off when you go to bed or leave home.
If it’s broken, fix it. (Or throw it away.)
Before hanging lights, check for any broken bulbs or damaged wiring. You can usually replace a missing or broken bulb, but if any wiring is broken or exposed it’s probably time to invest in new lights. Broken sockets or frayed cords can cause electrical shorts, potentially sparking a fire.
Don’t overload the circuits.
As a rule of thumb, don’t attach more than three strands of lights to a single extension cord. Additionally, it’s a good idea to spread the lights between different circuits. A typical household circuit will max out at 20 amps. The label of the lights will generally tell you how many amps it requires. It is recommended that you don’t exceed 80% of a circuits maximum capacity — e.g. if a circuit maxes at 20 amps, try not to attach more than 16 amps to it.
Location is everything.
Certain lights are intended to be used indoors, and others are meant for the outdoors. They might appear similar, but it’s a good idea to use them in their intended environment — they are built to handle different temperatures, etc. Also, avoid stringing lights around any metal structure (e.g. stair railing, rain gutters, metal fencing). If the wires come in contact with the metal it will become electrically charged, creating an electrocution hazard. Wherever you choose to hang your lights, avoid attaching them with nails and staples, as these are more likely to damage the wires. Plastic hooks and fasteners intended specifically for Christmas lights are the best way to go.
Consult a professional.
If you follow the above guidelines, you’ll more likely avoid potential fires, damage and personal injury. If you have any concerns about your home’s electrical circuits, it’s a good idea to consult a professional before hanging any lights. Bid Boomerang can help you quickly find a skilled, experienced electrician in Mesa, AZ.