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SDG&E: Keep holiday light decorating safe, efficient, festive and fun

Updated: Feb 11, 2019

More than 86 percent of Americans decorate their homes as part of their winter holiday celebrations.1 Cut down on their energy use during the holidays by making smart lighting choices. cites many reasons to choose LED holiday lighting over incandescent lights. LEDs use up to 80% less energy than traditional bulbs, they're brighter, eco-friendly, and are safer, as they are much cooler than incandescent lights. They are easy to install—up to 24 strings of LEDs can be connected end-to-end without overloading a wall socket. They last ten times longer and have no filaments or glass to break.

Stay safe during the holidays with these tips:

1. Get reflective. Shiny ornaments, tinsel and mirrors multiply the effects of your lighting without using more energy. Keep tinsel away from pets though. Don't forget non-electric wreaths, garland and reflective menorahs.

2. Hang lighting correctly. Make sure that no cords will be pinched by furniture or placed under rugs, furniture or other appliances. If covered, cords can overheat or become frayed, increasing the risk of fire.

3. Be safe outdoors. When climbing ladders to string lights, check for overhead power lines and stay at least 10 feet away. Never place yourself or any object in a way that risks contact with power lines—the result can be fatal.

4. Trim trees. Before stringing lights on outdoor trees, ensure tree limbs haven’t grown into or near power lines. Branches, entire trees and even the ground adjacent to a tree can become energized when trees contact power lines.

5. Put your tree in a safe location. Don’t place your holiday tree near a heat source such as a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, making it more susceptible to fires caused by heat, flame or sparks.

6. Check condition of lights. Inspect light strands for cracked or broken plugs, frayed insulation or bare wires. Worn cords can cause fires, so discard damaged sets of lights.

7. Read the labels. Be sure to check each product label to see whether the lights are intended for indoor or outdoor use. Don’t use indoor lights outdoors.

1 Consumer survey from the Electrical Safety Foundation International


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