It’s sad. Christmas should be a happy time. But many families get too gung-ho with their Christmas lights without taking safety precautions, which can lead to a fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “Holiday lights and other decorative lighting with line voltage were involved in an estimated average of 150 home structure fires per year” between 2006-2010.
These fires each year caused an average of:
- 9 civilian deaths
- 13 civilian injuries
- $9 million in direct property damage
Here are 4 inexpensive tools you can use to make your festive lights less likely to cause a fire.
1) Outdoor outlet cover
Hanging a lot of outdoor lighting decorations? Make sure you’re using an outdoor outlet cover. It’s a small plastic container with an opening that allows cords to come out of the outlet while keeping the plug safe and dry.
2) Energy efficient LED lights
OK, this isn’t necessarily a tool as it is using a different kind of light. LED Christmas lights run cooler than incandescent lights-which release 90% of their energy as heat, according to Energy.gov. Cooler lights = less likely to start a fire.
While LEDs cost more, compared to incandescents they:
- Last 25 times longer: That’s about 25,000 hours of light or 40 holiday seasons.
- Are 6-7 times more energy efficient: If you’re a big fan of creating a fancy Christmas scene outside of your home, your energy bills go sky high. But if you use LEDs, you can lower the cost from those lights by about 80%.
- Are easier to install: You can connect up to 25 strings of LEDs end-to-end without overloading a wall socket.
3) Indoor/outdoor cord
Sun and water can damage extension cords, leading to an electrical fire. That’s why you need to use an indoor/outdoor cord, which is more resistant to the elements. This is the perfect companion for the outdoor outlet cover.
4) Power strips with built-in surge protector
Power strips with a built-in surge protector prevent overloaded circuits from causing electrical fires.
For those of you who are going to put on a big show
Are you going all out this year with holiday light decorations? You’ll need more than just a few power strips to prevent overloading the circuit that’s already being used by other electronics.
We suggest having a professional electrician install a new circuit dedicated to your holiday decoration needs. This will lighten the load on your other plugins and decrease the chance of causing a power outage and/or dangerous sparks.