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Christmas Lighting


S Decorate with safety in mind by Matt Montgomery


As the Tanksgiving turkey transforms into a


leftover sandwich, Christmas music starts playing on the radio, children (and some adults) start fine tuning their Christmas lists, and the race is on to get the Christmas decorations up. Christmas is steeped in nostalgia—everything


reminds us of our childhood celebrations. However, when it comes to lighting, some of us hang on longer than we should. If you have a strand of Christmas lights as old as you are, it is time for an upgrade. Tose now vintage C9 bulbs, oil-filled bubble lights, or mini lights belong in snapshots in your Christmas photo albums, not on your tree. Keep the following in mind as you start your


decorating this year:


S Do not overload electrical outlets. Most lights are designed to connect no more than three strands. Inspect the wires periodically to make sure they are


intact and not warm to the touch. S Never leave lights on overnight or when no one


is home. A lighting timer is a big help with this one. S Only use lights approved by an independent testing laboratory like Underwriters Laboratory,


Inc. (UL). S Discard strands with kinked, frayed, or


damaged wires, broken bulbs, or loose connections. Faulty lights can send an electrical charge through a tree and electrocute anyone who comes in contact with a branch. S Make sure all wires and coatings are in proper order. Use outlets equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) if possible.


Do not overload outlets.


S Make sure to use light cords and outlets rated


for outdoor use for your outdoor displays. S Check all connections before turning on your display, especially if there are pets or small children nearby. If you were to explain to a young person today


that at one time oil-filled electric Christmas lights were placed on an actual live trees and lights could get hot enough to burn skin, they may marvel at the safety hazard. With modern innovations in safety and more energy efficient lighting options, we can have all kinds of twinkling, blinking beacons of Holiday spirit AND have a safe and wonderful holiday season.


Discard strands with damaged wires. News Magazine 11


Safety/Efficiency


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