Outdoor Christmas Lighting Safety Tips


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We want you to decorate your house to the max to show it off in our Holiday Lights contest.

But we also want you to be safe. George Anderson, the Verona electrician who has provided us with so many day trip ideas this year (and he’s got one more for the holiday season that we’ll be posting soon), has sent over some tips on keeping your outdoor Christmas lighting as safe as possible:

  • Avoid using the larger seven-volt light bulbs.  They are bigger and brighter, but they also burn much hotter than mini Christmas lights. One of the most common causes of holiday-time house fires results from these bulbs being too close to gutters filled with dried out leaves.
  • Make sure that the strings of lights you are using outside have built-in fuses on the lines.
  • Make sure to use Christmas lights that are designated for outdoor use only.  If you use indoor-rated lights, they may not be able to withstand the weather conditions which will cause them to break down faster.
  • You should only use Christmas lights and electric equipment that has been tested and verified by a reliable testing laboratory.  Two reputable laboratories are UL and ETL.  Any equipment or lights that have been tested safe will have one of their logos on the packages.  If it doesn’t have it, don’t use it.
  • If you have a string of lights with a blown out bulb, be sure to replace it with a bulb of the exact same wattage.
    NEVER tap into your home’s feeder line to power your outdoor Christmas lights or hang decorations on the line.
  • Avoid using nails, tacks or metal staples to secure your outdoor Christmas lights. Use insulated hooks instead, and be sure your lights are strung tightly to avoid damage from the wind.
  • Use only outdoor-rated extension cords.  Avoid connecting more than three strings of lights to a single extension cord.
  • All plugs should be plugged into a GFCI protected outlet when used outside.
  • When removing your Christmas decorations and lights, never remove the strings of lights by pulling on the wires.  This causes the wires to break free from the sockets and the bulbs to break.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


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