Craftsman Electric loves electricity – including Christmas lights and decorations. Christmas lights, twinkle lights or fairy lights as they are called, have come a long way over time. We want to make sure you keep your family and friends safe this holiday season from short circuits, injuries and electrical fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of 150 homes are burned, with 8 people killed and 14 people injured every year due to incorrect use of holiday lights. Don’t let this happen to your home and family—before you deck the halls, the windows, the trees and the bushes with tons of lights, consider that you may need to install new circuits for Christmas lights, even if your decorating plans are modest, but particularly if you have more ambitious plans.

In some areas Christmas lighting has become a fierce competition among neighbors. This is always a treat for anyone lucky enough to ride through these neighborhoods. If you are one of those using an excess of lights for your festive display remember to prevent electrical overload during the holidays. Be safe as you hang up your awesome Christmas or other Holiday lights in your home or yard. Enjoy and be careful this season by following these steps:

  • Make sure your electric panel can handle your holiday lights.
  • Always read and adhere to product safety labels.
  • Make sure your power source comes from a GFCI outlet. This type of outlet will shut the circuit off if there is an overload. If you’re not sure call Craftsman Electric or a licensed electrician to help.
  • For outside lights and extension cords, always use ones that are meant for outdoor use, and are waterproof or water-resistant with a tag marked underwriter’s lab (UL). These lights meet national industry standards with the American National Standards Institute.
  • Before setting up any Christmas lights, plug them in to make sure all the bulbs are working.
  • Replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs. Unplug any light strings before changing bulbs.
  • Keep extension cord connections above ground and away from snow and water.
  • Tape cords where there might be potential walking hazards.
  • Don’t let cords be so long that they pile up.
  • Don’t overload extension cords.
  • Never pull the cord from electrical outlets. Pulling on the cord can damage the cord’s wire and insulation and even lead to an electrical fire.
  • Throw out any broken, cracked, frayed or bare wires, loose connections, or damaged lights.
  • Turn your lights off when you leave or go to bed at night.

One last thing you will want to consider as you gear up for the holiday lights: you can save electricity by using newer LED lights over the standard holiday lights. They need far less electricity to glow. Just to compare: One strand of 50 standard mini lights requires about 20 watts, while one strand of 70 LED mini lights doesn’t quite need 5 watts. That’s 20 extra lights, and a whole lot less power consumption. Depending on the condition and usage on your circuits already, you still may want to consider installing new circuits for Christmas lights.

Craftsman Electric Contractors can help you avoid electrical fires or shock that can be caused by inadequate outlets. Call us to see if your electric panel meets your electrical needs so your family stays safe this holiday season. Keep your investment protected. Call us for a free estimate at 513-891-4426 and have a licensed electrician help you get ready for the holidays and Christmas lights!