Holiday Lighting Don'ts

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Holiday Lighting and Decorating Safety Tips from American Mechanical

Thanksgiving is practically here, which means after Thursday’s festivities, families across the United States and in Virginia Beach will begin decorating their homes for the winter holidays. But, ignoring the proper safety precautions when decorating your home can lead to serious injury, fire, or even death.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments in the U.S. responded, on average, to 230 home structure fires caused by Christmas trees between 2007 and 2011, and an average of 150 home structure fires caused by holiday lighting within the same time period.

Keep reading to learn how you can avoid personal injury and property loss with these holiday lighting don’ts from American Mechanical.

Don’t Use Staples, Nails, or Screws to Hang Lights

Using staples, nails, screws, or any other sharp object to securely hang your holiday lights can rip holes in your holiday lighting wiring, causing the protected wires to become exposed. When live wires are exposed to rain, sleet, and/or snow, there is an increased chance of electrocution and fire.

Don’t Connect Too Many Strands of Lights Together

Connecting too many strands of holiday lights together creates a higher risk of short circuiting and an electrical fire. Whether you are decorating indoors or outdoors, stick to the standard “three-strand rule” and do not connect more than three strands of lights together at once.

Don’t Use the Wrong Extension Cord

Did you know there are different types of extension cords? When using an extension cord to power your holiday lighting, it is recommended to use a 16-gauge cord if running a distance of less than 25 feet. For lighting spanning more than 25 feet, a 14-gauge extension cord is recommended for use.

We also recommend purchasing separate extension cords for indoor and outdoor use. Look for a W on the packaging of your extension cord to mark it safe for outdoor use.

Don’t Leave Extension Cords on the Ground

Leaving an extension cord on the ground presents many dangers. If you live in a climate with little snowfall, misplaced extension cords become a tripping hazard for guests and children. Not to mention, your extension cord may be buried under snow and other wintry elements. Raise your extension cord off the ground by using a brick or other object.

Don’t Leave Lights Up Longer than Necessary

Just like regular light bulbs, holiday lighting does not last forever. Don’t leave your holiday lights up any longer than necessary. Doing so may decrease the lifespan of your holiday lights after prolonged exposure to outdoor elements (rain, sleet, snow, etc.).

From everyone at American Mechanical, have a safe holiday season!