Clean Wiring Key to Christmas Light Safety

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Fire departments and power companies like to warn home owners about the dangers of "spaghetti junctions" or "octopus wiring". That's when you create a maze of extension cords, plugs, and wires all coming from the same electrical outlet.
This problem is more common during the holidays when people are putting up Christmas lights both indoors and outdoors. The lights may not look that powerful, but when you add them up, you may be putting undue stress on the electrical system in your home.

Christmas light safety tips:

  • To avoid overloading, use a powerbar, with several outlets and a circuit breaker.
  • When using extension cords, make sure that the current rating (in amps or "A") of the appliance that you are plugging in doesn't exceed the extension cord's rating. If the product's current rating is higher than the extension cord's, the cord could overheat.
  • Don't bunch mini Christmas lights together - the excessive heat could melt the insulation and expose live wires. Metal tree ornaments could also pose a shock hazard if they make contact with frayed wiring.
  • Check all cords and plugs for fraying, cracks, or loose connections. When in doubt, replace old cords.
  • Never run cords under carpets or across doorways, where they can overheat or become worn.
  • Extension cords are usually appropriate only on temporary or portable pieces of equipment. So in the example of the Christmas lights it is fine, but it is unacceptable for a refrigerator or other major appliances.