Lighting and tree safety for the holiday season

    submitted by Bob Seminick, DelRay Plus TrueValue, New Hope

    A lot of people have questions as the holiday season approaches, when they’re setting up a tree and pulling out old lights and decorations.

    It’s important to remain safe and aware so you don’t end up with a safety or fire hazard in your home.

    The most important thing as far as safety is concerned with decorations and lighting is being very careful how many strings of lights you put on one circuit.

    You don’t want to overload the wires.

    In today’s packaging, the boxes are very explicit as far as how many strings of lights you can put on one circuit.

    One way to help with that if you’re doing a lot of lighting is to use new LED lights.

    You can save up to 98% of your electric lighting when using LED bulbs – they use much less than standard lighting.

    LED bulbs often last longer too because they don’t generate a lot of heat.

    If you’re using lights from previous years, be sure there are no frayed wires or exposed sockets.

    It’s important to check a strand of lights before hanging them on a tree, and if you’re in doubt, it’s safer to purchase a new strand of lights.

    The cost of lighting is much less than it used to be and your and your family’s safety is more valuable.

    Keep the tree well watered to keep it healthy – like the fires out west, if your tree is dry it becomes much more combustible. A well-watered fresh-cut tree has more moisture in it.

    A tree can drink up to a quart of water per day and must be tended daily.

    When you buy your tree, if you’re putting it up right away, shave about an inch off the tree stump to expose the bottom of the trunk, because it will soak up water better. Evergreens have pine tar the tree will seep, but if you cut it right before you put it up, it doesn’t have a chance for the pores to get clogged.

    Keep your tree away from any fireplaces and where sparks can fly.

    After the holiday, people tend to keep their tree for a while and it’s important to check how dry the tree is. You don’t want to keep it too long especially if it becomes too dry.

    If you find yourself with any questions, visit your local hardware store and they’ll be happy to answer questions regarding safety, and can also offer some wonderful decorating ideas.

    Your local fire company would be happy to answer questions too.

    When in doubt, find the answers before taking chances when decorating and preparing for a happy and safe holiday.