Many people celebrate the holiday season by adding electric lights and lighted decorations to their home and yard. Yet, if sufficient care is not taken, these items can be the source of a disastrous house fire; according to the US Fire Administration, one out of three Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
To help ensure a safe and happy season, remember these safety tips:
· Don’t assume your lights, cords, and electric decorations are in good condition just because they worked last year. Inspect them carefully, and replace anything where the wires are bare, frayed or cracked. (Don’t try to repair them with electrical tape!)
· Never replace burned-out bulbs while the lights are plugged into an outlet.
· Make sure all exterior decorations are rated for outdoor use (with a red UL seal) and are connected to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlet. Never secure lights with staples, nails or sharp hooks; use hooks or clips designed for hanging light strings.
· Consider using LED lights. They last up to 20 times longer than traditional incandescent lights, and generate less heat – so they are safer and more energy efficient. While they may be more expensive than other types of lighting, you’ll recover some of that cost through lower electric usage.