Can Holiday Lights Cause a Fire?

holiday lights

With Christmas quickly approaching, it’s finally time to start decorating your home! One of the more time-consuming and dangerous tasks of holiday decorating is hanging Christmas lights. Holiday lights can be beautiful and add plenty of extra cheer to the holiday season, but they also pose a fire risk that can quickly turn a season of joy into a season of devastation.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in the U.S., electrical fires are the number one cause of residential fires (of which there are approximately 45,000 each year), and half of these fires are caused by electrical distribution or lighting equipment. So, the answer to “Can Christmas lights start a fire?” is yes.

How Can Christmas Lights Start a Fire?

The leading causes of Christmas light fires are overloaded sockets and faulty electrical wires. Christmas lights themselves don’t heat enough to cause a fire, but when paired with overloaded sockets and faulty electrical fires, fires are common.

How Can I Prevent My Christmas Lights from Starting a Fire?

Knowing how to properly install your holiday lights can significantly reduce the risk of a house fire.

To help make your decorating process safer, here are some of our best holiday lighting tips:

  • Conduct an inspection: Before hanging your lights, it is important to carefully examine their condition. If you discover any frayed cords, broken lights, sockets without bulbs, or stray wires, that light strand needs to be replaced.
  • Use the proper lights: Holiday lights are often only either designed for outdoor or indoor use. Make sure that you are using the proper lights before hanging them.
  • Use light clips: You should always use holiday light clips to safely secure your lights. Many homeowners use screws, staples, tacks, or nails, which can puncture the wiring and result in a hazardous situation.
  • Turn off your lights overnight: Before leaving your house or going to bed, you need to turn off all of your light strings.
  • Use extension cords wisely: Make sure extension cords are in good shape, secured safely, and not overloaded.
  • Secure loose strands: Use electrical tape or ground staples to safely secure loose strands and reduce the risk of tripping and falling.
  • Use the proper number of strands: Check the instructions for your light strands to see how many you can string together without creating a safety risk. Generally, you should never string more than three strands of lights together.
  • Never run lights through windows or doors: It is best to use an outdoor outlet to hang your lights. If you run your lights through windows or doors, the wiring can become damaged when they open and shut.
  • Store safely: You need to pack up your holiday lights as carefully as possible to ensure they are safe for the next season. Make sure they are stored in sealed containers that water and rodents cannot get into.

FP Property Restoration Is Here to Help

Here at FP Property Restoration, our team is committed to protecting your family and taking care of your home. Your comfort and safety are our top priorities, which is why we want to do our part to help you enjoy a safer holiday season this year.

If you have any further questions about how to prevent holiday lighting hazards, give us a call at (888) 408-2335.

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