The holidays are a time of celebration and joy—but will all of the revelry, and festive décor, come a number of safety hazards. Stringing decorative holiday lights and connecting inflatable Christmas decorations that run blowers can pose risks to you and your loved ones. An overloaded circuit or even electrical fire could result from a careless installation of lights and other decorations. Here are a few electrical safety tips to keep everyone happy and safe this holiday season:

Product Selection

When buying new decorations, read the packaging and directions. Find out if the decoration is meant for outdoor or indoor use. Safety includes Christmas tree selection as well. Needles should not easily break or fall off of a fresh cut tree. An artificial tree needs to be labeled as fire resistant. LED holiday lights that give off very little heat are best for tree decorating. Also choose lights and decorations that bear a seal of approval from an accredited certification agency.

Connection Planning

Inspect old lights and decorations for damage. Replace products that have deteriorated. When designing your lighting display, do not connect more than three light strings in a row. This applies to both inside tree lights and exterior house lights. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to obtain additional guidance for specific products. Add up the wattage necessary to run the lights and confirm that your extension cords and circuit can manage the wattage.

Light and Decoration Installation

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outlets are needed for outdoor connections due to the potential for water exposure. Outdoor cords and connections need to be above ground and never in contact with puddles. Cords should not be placed across walkways or driveways. On the inside, do not run cords under rugs or through doorways. Use connection clips designed for securing lights and decorations. Metal staples or nails could cut wires.

Troubleshooting

A light display that trips a circuit might be corrected if you can divide connections between separate outlets on different circuits. If you need a new outlet, contact the licensed team at AJ’s Electrical Service & Repair.

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