The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Light Safety

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Throughout the decades, people have used some truly questionable items to decorate their homes during the holidays. We’ve come a long way from the days of sprinkling asbestos-based fake snow on decorations and clipping burning candles to Christmas trees, but we are still not completely safe when it comes to holiday decorating.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that about 170 house fires start with Christmas trees each holiday season. Forty-three percent of those fires are caused by incorrect distribution of electrical demand, and a quarter of them are caused by heat sources placed too close to the tree.

Keep reading for Christmas light safety advice and our best Christmas light storage ideas:

The Most and Least Safe Christmas Lights

Many families enjoy the appearance of vintage lights on their trees. The problem with old bulbs is that they use a tremendous amount of energy and can become very hot. For these reasons, vintage string lights are not a good choice for decorating your Christmas tree, especially if you ever plan to leave the lights unattended. For a safer option (with the same classic look), replace your old strings of lights with modern LED C-9 Christmas lights.

If you’re of a certain age, you might remember bubble lights. These decorative Christmas lights popular from the 1950s through the 1970s featured long glass bulbs perched on top of a large disc-shaped base, both of which were full of low-boil liquid. As the liquid heated up, a constant stream of bubbles floated up the glass tube. If you have strings of vintage bubble lights in your Christmas decoration box, use them with caution. They are dangerous if they break open; the hot liquid can burn children or pets. The fumes from a spill are also considered carcinogenic. Modern versions of bubble lights are made from less hazardous materials.

Today, strings of LED lights are considered the best tree-decorating option. They use very little electricity, don’t get hot, and are rated to last for more than 4,000 hours. Although LED strings cost more than incandescent light strings, the power savings over the life of your new LED lights will more than pay for the higher up-front cost – using them hardly registers on your electric bill.

Know the Difference between Indoor and Outdoor Christmas Lights 

Not all light strings are made for outdoor use. Outdoor-rated Christmas lights are made to endure cold temperatures and wet conditions. Indoor lights are designed to prevent fire hazards. Therefore, it’s important to use specific kinds of lights for their intended purposes. The same goes for using extension cords for their approved indoor or outdoor uses.

Here’s one last Christmas light safety tip: never chain more than three string plugs together. If you must plug in more strings, use an extension cord or power strip to properly distribute the power demand.

Christmas Light Storage Ideas

Some strings of lights come with durable storage cases or spools. If possible, it’s a good idea to store lights in their original package between holiday seasons. If you need alternative Christmas light storage ideas, you have come to the right place.

Here are a few easy Christmas light storage ideas:

  • Wrap a string of lights around a shoebox lid or empty paper towel roll. Cut two small notches in the cardboard to hold each end of the string in place.
  • Fold the string of lights back and forth so that all the lights are at either end of the bundle. Then, use a twist tie or rubber band to bind the whole string together.
  • Wrap string lights around an old coat hanger. Storing strings of lights is as easy as placing the hanger in an out-of-the-way location in your home.

Happy Holidays From Electronic Restoration Services!