For countless homeowners across the country, Christmas isn’t Christmas without the tree. However, Christmas trees, and Christmas tree lights specifically, can be surprisingly hazardous for your house. In fact, it is estimated that roughly 15,000 people visit the emergency room every year as a result of injuries related to putting up/decorating their Christmas tree. For one thing, there are the risks associated with putting up the lights, but you’ve also got to be careful to avoid the potential fire damage Christmas tree lights can cause. Fortunately, our fire damage restoration pros are here to keep you safe. Check out our list of Christmas tree safety tips below, and remember that for all your emergency fire and water damage needs, you can always call our experts at FP Property Restoration.
10 Prevention & Restoration Tips for Christmas Lights
- Make Sure to Replace Old Lights at the Beginning of the Holiday Season: We know that you may have a sentimental attachment to your old Christmas lights, but we promise you, those memories you have aren’t worth causing a house fire. Old Christmas lights were not held to the same safety standards as current products, and were therefore more likely to cause a fire. Plus, the longer you use your lights, the greater chance you will end up with empty sockets, frayed cords, broken bulbs, or stray wires. Fortunately, modern innovations have led to a ton of improvements in Christmas tree lights. Speaking of which…
- Switch to Modern LED Lights: LED lights with epoxy standards are cool to the touch, which means they aren’t going to burn your fingers or pose a fire risk to your Christmas tree. LED lights also look great, and because they consume less energy, using them can also help lower your electricity bill.
- Check for UL Safety Certification When Buying Lights: Underwriters Laboratories is an independent product safety certification origination that signs off on all different types of goods as being safe to go to market. Finding the UL Safety Certification on Christmas lights is now the modern standard, and all but guarantees that your lights will not be a fire risk for your home.
- Avoid Using Too Many Strands at the Same Time: When it comes to Christmas lights, most people suggest using the rule of threes. Any more than three strands at the time can not only overheat your tree, it may also overexert your electrical system, which can cause blackouts and even increase the risk of electrical fires.
- Make Sure Strands Are Completely Secure: While we’re on the topic of how many light strands to use, it should also be said that it is best to secure your light strands as much as possible. It is best to use electrical tape or find another way to ground your strands/wrap them together. This way no one will trip over them, injuring themselves, damaging your tree, and potentially even causing an electrical fire in the socket.
- Don’t Use Outdoor Lights Indoors: Again, this is something that should be fairly easy to figure out, thanks to modern manufacturing. But when you go to buy lights, make sure you are purchasing the correct kind for indoor and outdoor use. Different kinds of Christmas lights are not interchangeable, and the ones that are suitable for outside may not be suitable for your tree (and vice versa.)
- Water Your Christmas Tree Regularly: It should go without saying that the dryer your tree is, the more likely it is to be a fire hazard. Making sure your tree gets the right amount of water will not only help your tree look beautiful all season long, it will also ensure that your lights don’t accidentally cause it to catch on fire.
- Turn off Lights When You Go to Bed: Even if you have the safest Christmas tree lights in the world, it’s still a good idea to turn them off when you go to bed at night, just in case some kind of freak accident occurs.
- Store Lights Safely Once the Season Is Over: You should use caution when packing up your Christmas tree lights, as broken bulbs can be a fire hazard. Also watch out for where you store your lights, as rodents love to chew on wiring, and may make a meal of your light strands if given the chance.
- Make Sure Everyone in Your Home Is on the Same Page: Look, we all know that accidents happen. However, you should still do everything you can to avoid unnecessary risks. Tell your kids not to run around the tree, keep pets away from it at all times, and if your tree is near a fireplace, heater, or anything else that could be a fire hazard, make sure to move it ASAP.