Use caution with holiday lights

Use caution with holiday lights
Those festive holiday lights can be a real holiday hazard if you're not careful.

At Underwriters Labs, John Drengenberg has a few important safety reminders.

"Don't put more than 3 light strings into one outlet, especially for the mini-lights," he says. "If they're the screw in type lights make sure not more than 50 bulbs are plugged into one outlet, so you don't overload your outlets."

LED lights are so energy efficient you can run more of them together. Just check the package.

For outside decorating, don't use metal nails or staples.

"These can ultimately damage the insulation and cause a shock hazard or even a fire hazard," Drengenberg says.

Plastic hooks are your best bet.

It may seem obvious, but indoor decorations or extension cords cannot be used outdoors. One way to tell is to look at the UL Mark.

"If it's green in color it means the decoration has been tested only for indoor use," Drengenberg says. "If the UL in the circle on that holographic mark is red in color it means that those decorations have been given extra tests to make sure they're suitable for use outdoors. Look for the red UL mark if you're going to decorate outdoors."

For more information

Decking the halls with lights

Extension Cord Safety: What You Might Not Know about Choosing a Cord

10 Ways to Stay on the Safe Side This Season

UL Safety Quiz