Christmas trees and Christmas decoration lights are the top causes of fires around this time of the year.
So, Is It Safe to Have Christmas Lights in Your Bedroom?
Christmas lights help make the festive season more lively, but they are not safe. If they are not installed the right way (also if you choose the wrong type), they could set your curtains or beddings on fire. Just like anything else that uses electricity, those attractive strands of lights can malfunction and set the home ablaze.
Holiday fire statistics paint a grim picture about them.
- Decorative lights are involved in about 18 percent of home fires during the festive season.
- Wiring or related tools and equipment were involved in about 13 percent of the cases.
- Plugs and cords were involved in about 6 percent of the cases.
- Electrical malfunctions/failures were major factors in about 25 percent of the cases.
Eight Ways To Prevent Christmas Lights Accidents
Don’t be a statistic – here’s how to prevent lights-related accidents during the festive season:
1. Never Leave Your Christmas Lights Shine Overnight
Remember to turn off your Christmas lights including those on the Christmas tree on your way to bed.
Also don’t leave them shining unattended for long periods. Hot lights in or near a dry natural Christmas tree can be a recipe for a home fire.
The metallic parts of the lights of the Christmas lights and trees can also expose you to electrical shock if you don’t get the installation right.
If you have small children at home, put them into consideration when decorating your home for the holidays.
Small children are always attracted to flickering or multicolored objects and they may pull your strands of lights out of curiosity.
Putting these lights in your bedroom, or theirs, might not be a great idea.
2. Install Your Lights the Right Way
Christmas lights may malfunction and start a fire not because they are inherently dangerous but because of inappropriate installation.
If your lights were designed for outdoor application, keep them outdoors preferably through a GFCI outlet to protect your home from snow or moisture-related ground faults.
Conversely, indoor decoration lights should be strictly kept indoors. Ensure that your outdoor/indoor lights have the right IP rating for their respective environment.
Furthermore, avoid running your lighting cables across or along thoroughfares or escape routes cables – it is bad for the safety of your family.
One of the easiest ways to start a fire indoors is to place your lights close to flammable materials.
3. Choose LEDs Over Regular Christmas Lights
Yes – it makes sense to go for LED Christmas lights instead of the regular Christmas lights.
While LEDs are a little costly to install than traditional Christmas lights, they are safer than the latter.
You will realize that there are fewer LEDs per string than traditional lights, hence the high acquisition cost.
The best thing about LED lights, however, is that they remain cool for longer.
In contrast, conventional Christmas lights are notorious for getting hotter with the increasing operation hours.
Traditional Christmas lights can become very hot to touch after a few hours of activity.
The hotter they get, the higher the chances of a fire especially near flammable items.
That’s why you are always advised to unplug your lights after long hours of operation or if you won’t be around to watch them.
Since LED Christmas lights don’t overheat, they are the safest lighting option for both your bedroom, other indoor spaces, and even outside.
Besides being safe, they won’t bloat your holiday electricity bill as they are energy-efficient compared to regular Christmas lights.
They also last longer – just throw them in a box somewhere once the festive season is over and pull them out again the following Christmas.
You may have realized that their bulbs are made from plastic as opposed to glass on conventional Christmas lights.
This means you don’t really need to wrap them up in a soft material to protect them from impact.
4. Adhere to The Rule of 3
You can prevent the traditional Christmas lights from overheating by reducing the number of lights per extension cord.
Many manufacturers recommended that you plug up to 3 strands of lights on one extension cord to cut the chances of overheating.
Still, it’s going to depend on an array of factors including the wattage of your strand and the plug’s maximum watt capacity.
You might not be in a position to tell the wattage capacity of your Christmas lights.
In that case, get yourself a power strip equipped with an inbuilt circuit breaker instead.
5. Go for UL Safety-certified Christmas Lights
UL certification is to safety what EPA certification is to environment protection.
Some Christmas lights come with UL Safety Certification, which means they have been tested by Underwriters Laboratories and found to have met the industry safety specifications.
UL-certified lights are safer to use at home than those that haven’t been certified. Go for those that have been certified if your existing older strands are not certified.
6. Remember to Hydrate Your Christmas Tree
A big part of the festive season’s fires is sparked by Christmas trees, more so dry Christmas trees.
This means you should watch your Christmas tree and lights and avoid overheating and related electricity-related fire hazards. Failure to hydrate your natural Christmas tree will certainly dry it and create a fire risk.
Depending on the species and level of freshness, you might need to water your tree two times a day.
Better yet, you can do away with natural Christmas trees altogether and install an artificial tree.
Most of the artificial trees in stores nowadays are fire-resistant. Even better, they are pre-lit – they come with their own LED lights and are easier to set up.
7. Use Clips in Place of Screws and Nails
It’s pretty standard to secure light strands with screws or nails, but that’s riskier than you might think. If you use screws or nails or any metallic fasteners, they may puncture the plastic skin and come into contact with the wires and end up shorting the lights. Shorted strands of lights are a fire risk.
Instead, use plastic light clips (lots of these can be obtained from the hardware close to you) to secure your lights on the wall.
Not only are they safe to use but also don’t ruin your flawless wall compared to screws/nails.
8. Secure Your Loose Strands
Forget about the risk of fire, loose or overhanging Christmas lights can trip a moving person and cause falls.
As such, they should be prevented from hanging into the wrong places where they can be exposed to fires or obstruct the movement of people.
So, is it safe to have Christmas lights in your bedroom? Absolutely not.
If they are not installed the right way (also if you choose the wrong type), they could set your curtains or beddings on fire.
Just like anything else that uses electricity, those attractive strands of lights can malfunction and set the home ablaze.
You can reduce the risk of fire by opting for LEDs over traditional Christmas lights and installing them correctly.