A house lit up with Christmas lights is a beautiful sight to behold. But stringing lights across your roof and around your home can be a real safety hazard if you’re not careful. So before you flip the switch to dazzle friends and family with your spectacular light show, take a few moments to run through a quick safety checklist.
• Before you string up a single strand of lights, carefully check them for cracked cords, frayed ends or loose connections.
• Modern lights have fused plugs, preventing sparks in case of a short circuit. Ditch old strands of lights that don’t have fuses and get a set of newer, safer lights.• The combination of shorts in electrical lights and a tinder-dry tree can be deadly. There are numerous Christmas tree fires and related deaths each year so keep your tree well-watered. Not only will it stay fresh and green, but it might also keep your house from burning down.
• If bulbs have burned out, replace them right away, but make sure you use the correct wattage bulbs.
• Water and debris can get into outdoor sockets, so make sure outdoor lights are plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet to reduce the risk of shorts and shocks.
• Keep an eye on extension cords, as they can occasionally overheat. Just touch-test the cord. If it’s hot, unplug it.
• Don’t use tacks, nails or screws to hang lights, which can pierce the cable and become electrified. Use insulated hooks instead.
• When running extension cords along the ground, make sure to elevate plugs and connectors with a brick to keep snow, water and debris out of the connections.
• Tape down any ground-level extensions cords to prevent people from tripping over them.