Are You Making These 3 Dangerous Mistakes With Your Holiday Lights?

A tragedy. That’s the only way to describe holiday fires. 

A time meant for fun and relaxation with friends and family can quickly take a turn for the worst because people aren’t careful decorating with their holiday lights.

According to a study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2005-2009 Holiday lights caused 150 home structure fires per year. This resulted in “an average of eight civilian deaths, 14 civilian injuries, and $8.5 million in direct property damage per year.”

It’s a very real problem. That’s why we’re here to show you the most common mistakes made with holiday lights so you can avoid an electrical fire and have a happy holiday with your Sarasota-area family.

Mistake #1: Using indoor lights for outdoor purposes

All holiday lights fall under two categories: indoor-rated and outdoor-rated. Outdoor-rated lights are specifically built to stand up to the harsh outside environment while maintaining safe electrical connections. 

Using indoor-rated lights outside your home is a good way to cause an electrical fire, especially if it rains.

Make sure the holiday lights you’re using are appropriate for the environment where you’re using them. Also, when you need extension cords for your holiday lights, make sure you get extension cords that are rated for outdoor use as well.

Mistake #2: Storing holiday lights incorrectly

If you do use outdoor lights and they get wet, make sure you let them dry out before storing them.

So, where should you store your lights? Glad you asked! An interior closet is the best place to store your lights.

For increased safety, avoid keeping them in the attic or basement. The extreme heat of these unconditioned spaces can deteriorate wiring and connections.

Mistake #3: Installing holiday lights incorrectly

There are several mistakes that fall under this category. Here are the most common holiday light installation mistakes that can cause a holiday fire:

  • Overloaded outlets or extension cords. Incandescent lights have a limit of about 500 lights per outlet. If in doubt, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Different strands of lights together on the same outlet. For example: never connect LED lights with incandescent lights. 
  • Stapled light strands. Always use plastic insulated holder when installing holiday lights outside. The metal staple conducts electricity.
  • Light strand cords in high traffic areas where people can trip over them.

Using common sense saves lives

Don’t allow these holiday light safety mistakes to ruin your holidays. Have a merry Christmas and happy holidays from Energy Today in Florida!


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