Christmas lights safety tips guide

  • Choose Christmas lights that have been tested and deemed safe by a reputable testing laboratory. This will be noted on the packaging when you buy them.
  • Try to use the cooler-burning “mini” Christmas lights as opposed to the traditional larger bulbs. The older styles burn much hotter.
  • Only use Christmas lights that have fuses in the plugs.
  • Inspect each set of Christmas lights – old or new – for damage. Return or throw out any set with cracked or broken sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.

  • Replace burned out bulbs promptly with bulbs of the same wattage.
  • Never hang Christmas lights on a metal tree. The tree can become charged with electricity and shock someone. The tree can also short out the Christmas lights and cause a fire.
  • When hanging Christmas lights outdoors use outdoor Christmas lights. The packaging will note whether the lights can be used indoors, outdoors, or both.
  • All outdoor electrical decorations should be plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). You can buy portable units for outdoor use, or you can have them permanently installed by an electrician.
  • Use extension cords properly. Outdoor cords can be used inside or outside. Do not overload extension cords – they can get hot enough to burn.
  • Stay away from powerlines or feeder lines (these go from the pole to the house).
  • Secure outside Christmas lights with insulated holders (never use tacks or nails) or run strings of lights through hooks.
  • When you leave or go to bed at night, turn off your Christmas lights.
  • Never pull on a string of Christmas lights, it stresses the cords and can lead to fraying. Store Christmas lights loosely wrapped for the same reason.