Electrical Connection: Holiday lights & safety

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ST. LOUIS, MO - Many people love to brighten the holidays with lights, both inside and outside their homes. But the Electrical Connection warns you to be careful.  Combining old, wire-damaged decorations with a combustible Christmas tree or metal guttering can be a recipe for disaster.

Holiday Light Tips:

  • Examine and discard lights with frayed wires. They are not only a fire hazard, but a shock hazard and are especially dangerous if they come in contact with a metal gutter and ladder while being installed.
  • Use lights that are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) tested for safety. Be aware that counterfeit electrical decorations have infiltrated the market, so only purchase from reliable retailers.
  • Pay attention to whether the lights are rated for indoor or outdoor use and don’t stray from any limitations.
  • Consider using LED lights which last 20 times longer and don’t burn hot like traditional incandescent lights.
  • Avoid overloading sockets with plugs that could spark a fire.
  • Examine extension cords and discard those that are damaged. Be sure to use UL tested extension cords and select for appropriate use -- indoor or outdoor.
  • Child-proof all holiday decorations. Lights can be fascinating to young children and if they get too curious can expose them to a live circuit.


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