How to Make Sure your Holiday Lighting is Safe - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Dec 2, 2022

How to Make Sure your Holiday Lighting is Safe

Keep Your Home and Family Safe from a Holiday Lighting Disaster with These Tips


For many, the arrival of December means decorating for the upcoming Holidays. As we start to see the beautiful, twinkling of holiday lighting line the streets, many of us will soon break out the standard incandescent bulbs to “deck the halls”, but the question is, are you using them safely? 

According to FEMA, Christmas tree fires are uncommon, however when they do occur they are extremely dangerous. One study found that one in every 32 Christmas tree fires results in death. We encourage you to use the following steps to help avoid a tragedy and ensure your holiday lighting is safe.

1. Carefully Examine Lights Before Extended Use

You will want to make sure that there are no exposed wires or any other damaged components.  Although it may be more cost-effective to fix the broken lights, rather than purchase a new strand, it is more likely that a new strand is more reliable and safer.

2. Replace Older Strands of Lights

String holiday lighting can be used reliably for up to five years if stored properly. Purchasing new lights every five years will help to prevent any potential short circuiting

3. Limit Strands Per Outlet

A standard outlet can handle a maximum of three light stands. If additional strands are needed, consider using a surge protector or power strip that is designed to assist with protection for the needed wattage. 

4. Organize your Electrical Cords

You will likely need extension cords to reach your lights to your outlets. Be sure to keep your cords out of reach of children and pets. You will also want to ensure that your cords are clear of pathways as to avoid tripping hazards. 

5. Know the Material of your Tree

This tip primarily applies to artificial Christmas trees. If you opt for a shinier aluminum or metallic tree, avoid adding string lights as metallic trees are easily charged by electricity, which can more easily create sparking and result in fire. 

6. Keep your Tree Hydrated

If you decide to cut your own tree, be sure to keep it watered. Establishing a watering schedule can be helpful in ensuring your tree is properly hydrated, which will in turn make it less flammable. 

7. Indoor Lights Vs. Outdoor Lights

It is important to ensure the lights you purchase are appropriate for their intended environment. Indoor lights, although often cheaper, are made to use solely inside as they do not have the same moisture protection as that of outdoor lights. 

8. Keep Lights on a Timer

Unattended lights are unsafe lights. Adding a timer for your lights can be a helpful tool in ensuring the safety of your home and family.

9. Consider Other Lighting Options

Battery operated lighting and LED lighting are both energy efficient options. LED lighting although more expensive, lasts much longer, and is much safer than the standard incandescent strands. 

10. Use Candles Sparingly and with Supervision

Candles emit a wonderful fragrance yet create potential danger when not supervised appropriately. When using candles in your home be wary of nearby children and pets, and keep away from flammable materials like curtains, and other Christmas decorations. 

A safe holiday is a happy holiday. For a happy holiday with your friends and family, be sure to check the holiday lighting in your home early this year. For more tips on keeping your home and family safe during the holiday season, click the button below.