Holiday lights

Tips for safe, festive holiday lighting

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Deck the halls…the walls, the roof, and everything else, right? It’s time to get festive for the holidays but it’s important to make sure your decorations are safe, especially when it comes to lights. Did you know LED holiday lights last longer? They have an operational life span of roughly 20,000 hours – enough to last for 40 holiday seasons. Because they use less power, it is safer to connect multiple strings of LED holiday strands end-to-end without overloading electrical socket. However, if you go with incandescent lighting, remember to never connect more than three strands together.

Here are a few safety tips for indoor and outdoor lighting that you’ll want to know before you start decorating.

Outdoor

  • The setup: Install or adjust outdoor electrical displays only during dry weather and try to plan out your display beforehand to make sure you have enough accessible outlets to avoid having to change things mid-setup.
  • Your equipment: Make sure you are always using lights, extension cords, and fixtures that are outdoor (low temperature) and exterior-rated to avoid any issues. Also, do not run electrical cords through door or window openings where they can be damaged.
  • Your surroundings: When hanging lights around your roofline or in trees, be sure to survey the area for overhead power lines and maintain at least a 10-foot distance.
  • Your power: Use outdoor timers — ideally, digital with battery backup. This will save you money and you won’t have to worry about remembering to unplug the lights before bed or when you go out of town.

Indoor

  • Safety first: Keep lights away from carpeting, furniture, and drapes as these are great places for a fire to spark.
  • Power down: No one can enjoy the decorations and lights while they are sleeping or away. Turn off everything before you go to bed or leave home.
  • Placement matters: Avoid running cords under rugs, through doorways, or near furniture where they may be stepped on, tripped over, or broken.

Keep these tips in mind when you start putting up your holiday decorations and you’ll be the most envied home on the block! Want to learn more about managing your power? Visit the ‘Your Power’ tab on Empowering Michigan.