Holiday Lighting Tips & Safety

Holiday Lighting

Planning to deck the halls?
Check out these products designed to save electricity and time.

Battery-powered bulbs offer limitless options for decorating places where there's no outlet. Think wreaths, centerpieces or ugly sweaters.

LED Bulbs are making light strands more versatile than ever with thin wire lights. LED bulbs also use less electricity, last longer and are safer. *Department of Energy

APPLights are controlled by a smartphone application. The app turns the lights on or off and can change the color and theme for more than 140 total effects for a completely customized spectacle. These lights come in icicle, spotlight and candy cane, to name a few.

Solar power can cut cost and allow you to light areas not easily accessible to an outlet. Small solar panels store energy in batteries so lights can burn during the night. Available in stake lights, strings, or even decorative jars that you can carry with you on an evening stroll.

Timers come with a variety of options. Indoor/outdoor, dial/digital, single-plug or power strip, but the idea behind them is the same: automate your light symphony. Timers save electricity because you decide exactly which hours to burn the bulbs, and they turn on and off whether you fall asleep on the couch or not. 

Photocell light timers are activated by a darkness-sensing cell that triggers lights to turn on at dusk and off at dawn, or after a set amount of time (1-9 hours). 

Keep this in mind when you start to decorate the tree:

• For every 1 foot of tree height, you need 100 lights.

• One extension cord should connect a maximum of 3 mini light sets or 50 screw-in bulbs.

• Place extension cords next to the wall so no one will trip, but don't run cords under rugs.

• Indoor and outdoor extension cords are different.


Holiday Safety Tips

150 home fires are caused by holiday lights each year; 210 home fires start from Christmas trees. While these fires are rare, they are much more likely to cause injuries and death.

Take just a few safety precautions to ensure your holidays are worry-free:

• Make sure the lights are certified by an independent testing lab such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratories).

• Turn off all lights before leaving home or going to bed.

• If you’re using an extension cord, be sure not to overload it. Don’t use more than three sets of lights per cord. Do not run cords under rugs or near appliances where they can overheat and cause a fire. If you have a live tree, keep extension cords away from where you water it.

• Do not overload electrical outlets.

• Make sure all outdoor lighting is plugged into Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) receptacles.

• Be sure candles are out before going to bed or leaving the house.

• Examine lights each year, discarding any that have frayed cords or broken light sockets. "When in doubt, throw them out."

• Before replacing a bulb, unplug the string of lights and make sure to use a replacement bulb of the same voltage and wattage as the original.

• Never use electric lights on metallic trees.

• Use only outdoor lights that are marked for outdoor use. Make sure the power is off when stringing outdoor lights, and attach them to the house with insulated hangers - not metal staples, nails, or tacks. Be sure to keep the light plugs above ground and out of water.

• Examine trees you intend to string lights on and make sure no limbs have grown into or near power lines. This can lead to electrical shock.

• Make sure ladders are safe and secure before climbing on them.