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Lights, inside and out, are a beautiful part of the holiday season. But as with all electrical devices, you need to take special precautions.
Before you deck the halls, run through this checklist to keep your holidays merry and bright.
Discard any that are damaged. Frayed or cracked electrical cords or broken sockets are leading fire hazards.
The general limit for connecting multiple strings is three strings. Light strings with stacked plugs can usually accommodate greater lengths than end-to-end connections.
Empty sockets can cause the entire string to overheat.
Exterior lights, unlike those used inside the house, need to be weather-resistant. The same goes for any extension cords used outdoors.
They’re too hot for interior use. For the coolest bulbs and greatest energy efficiency, try LED lights, which come in a wide range of styles and colors.
They can cut through the wire insulation and create a fire hazard. Only use UL-approved hangers.
The longer they stay up, the more likely they are to suffer damage from weather and critters chewing on them.
Tangled lights can lead to damaged cords and broken sockets. After the holidays, coil each string loosely around a stiff piece of cardboard, wrap it in paper or fabric to protect the bulbs, and store in a sturdy container until next year.
Pat Curry is a former senior editor at "Builder," the official magazine of the National Association of Home Builders, and a frequent contributor to real estate and home-building publications.
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