Did you know that in 2013 there were approximately 230 home fires that were started due to a Christmas tree? In some cases, these fires weren't directly related to the tree. Instead, it was due to an electrical malfunction of some sort. If you have a live tree, then your risk of having a home fire around the holidays dramatically increases. Luckily, there is one simple way that you can help reduce your overall risk of a home holiday electrical fire: additional outlets.
Should Additional Outlets Be Added for Indoor or Outdoor Lights?
Whether you are using a significant amount of Christmas lights indoors or outdoors, an extra outlet is beneficial. Many people will run Christmas lights along the banisters on their stairs, along the mantel on the fireplace and on the Christmas tree. If these are all located closely together, you may want to consider an additional electrical outlet. Otherwise, you may run into overheating wires because you have too many amps on a single circuit.
As for outdoors, an additional outlet installed in the eaves underneath your roof can be extremely helpful. They can also be installed above windows and doors, as well as at the corners of the house. All of these locations make it easy to plug in Christmas lights without having to run extension cords, which are fire hazards.
Should You Install GFCI Outlets?
When installing new outlets, make sure that they are GFCI outlets. These outlets are designed to shut off automatically when too much electricity is running through them. This helps protect you and your home from an unnecessary electrical fire.
Do You Have to Add an Additional Outlet?
If for some reason you do not want to add an additional outlet in your home, there is something else you can do that will still help protect your home from a potential fire. You can use multiple outlets for your lights. In other words, don't string all of your lights together end-to-end and then plug that one strand into a single receptacle. When you do this, you are overloading the outlet, which could result in a fire.
When plugging your lights into separate outlets, you would do well to also make sure that those outlets are on different circuit breakers. Otherwise, it doesn't do much good for you.
If you want to have a new outlet installed, contact a qualified and licensed electrician in your area. After all, the last thing you want is for a fire to break out over the holidays.