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4 Tips for Preventing Electrical Fires when Decorating for the Holidays


For many, it's time to break the boxes of holiday decorations out of storage to deck the halls with lights, plant Santa and his reindeer in the front yard and decorate the tree. All of this includes a lot of electricity, which can put you at risk for an electrical fire. Read on for tips to safely install your holiday decorations this year.

  • Test lights before putting up.This may seem obvious but you don't want to finish putting lights on your house only to realize half the strands are burned out. Not only is this inconvenient but frayed wires, broken sockets and loose connections are fire hazards. Replace burned out bulbs and if the strand still doesn't light up, throw it out.
  • Make sure you have the right type of lights and extension cords.Check the ratings on your extension cords to make sure they can handle multiple strands of lights. Don't go overboard with plugging lights into one cord, you run the risk of shorting out. Double check that the extension cords and lights you put up are indeed intended to be outside. Some indoor decorations become fire hazards if they are out in the elements.
  • Unplug decorations when not in use.Some decorations are equipped with off switches, but unplugging them may be safer. At night when decorations aren't in use, unplug them to prevent overheating and to eliminate any risk of a fire at night when everyone is asleep.
  • Install safety devices to minimize fire hazards.Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and tamper resistant receptacles (TRRs) all help lower the risk of an electrical fire. An AFCI shuts down electricity flow if it detects a dangerous condition caused by damaged wiring. A GFCI insulates you from electrocution by shutting down electricity if there it flowing along an unintended path (such as through water or a person). A TRR covers the openings of an electrical outlet, which helps protect children from accidentally shocking themselves.

Although David Gray Electrical does not install holiday lights, our professional electricians are available to help with the installation of safety devices (including AFCIs, GFCIs), to check for hazards from faulty or frayed general wiring and to help with the installation of permanent lighting or fans. Call David Gray Electrical at (904) 605-8190 or visit us at