By December 24, 2013

5 Tips For Safe Holiday Lighting Decorations

Part of the magic of the holidays is decking your home out with lighted displays of splendor. As much fun as holiday decorating is, it can turn into disaster when safety is an afterthought. During this time of year, people get electrocuted, they fall from high places and their homes burn to a crisp because they are not careful while putting up their lighted displays.

Say bye-bye to ragged cords

Damaged Electrical Cord

Plugging in decorations that have frayed or damaged cords is a fire hazard waiting to happen. If you find lights with damaged cords, don’t try to rewire them or fix them with tape. These measures will not make the lights useable. Rigging the electrical cords on your decorations will only increase the potential for fire or electrocution. Do yourself a favor. If you find cords that look like rats have nibbled on them, put them in the trash.

Broken bulbs beware

Fix Christmas Lights

If you find lighted decorations with broken or blown bulbs, replace them with bulbs of the same wattage. If you can’t find bulbs to fit your decorations, call the manufacturer and they can either send you the right bulbs or tell you where to buy them. Always unplug the lights before you replace the bulbs. Just because the light is not working doesn’t mean it won’t electrocute you.

Get grounded

GFCI Electrical Ground Outlet

Plug all your outdoor lights into a GFIC or ground-fault circuit interrupter. This device looks like a regular electrical outlet, but it is designed to protect you from electrical shock. An electrician can install one for you or you can buy a portable unit at a home improvement store.

No substitutes

Outdoor Use

There are different types of lights for indoor and outdoor use. Do not try to substitute one for the other. If the package says “interior use” the product is for indoor use. If the package says “exterior use” the lights are for outdoor use only. Unless otherwise noted on the package, indoor and outdoor lights are not interchangeable.

Outdoor lights are designed to hold up to cold and wet weather and they get hotter than indoor lights. Indoor lights are safety tested for use on holiday trees. If you use them outside, they might break down and become a fire or electrocution hazard. If you are using lights from last year and are not able to determine whether they are interior or exterior, don’t use them.

Grab a partner

If you are hanging your lights in high places, have someone hold the ladder for you. When you have someone assisting you, he can call for help if you have an accident while you are hanging your decorations.

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to get wrapped up in decorating and forget about safety. Although holiday lights are beautiful, being careless or hanging them improperly can lead to disaster. While you are decking out your tree, house and yard with festive lights, follow the above tips to stay safe.

+Paul Reichman is the founder of BedBathStore. Using decades of experience in home fashion, Paul offers quality bed, bath and home furnishings at affordable prices through

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