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27 Oct 2020
holiday lights

Safety Guide for Holiday Lights

Holiday lights instantly transform a home during the holiday season. In 1882, the very first holiday light was created and homeowners have been decorating their homes with holiday lights since the 1930s. Now, there are numerous variations for holiday lights in style, size, and color selections to participate in the festive spirit. With so many selections, which lights are the best and safest lighting options for your home? Explore our blog to discover the best and worst holiday lights with valuable safety tips.

Best Option: LED

The best choice for holiday lights are LED lights. Not only are they energy efficient, but they have a long life cycle and are safe. Today’s LED light strings also last approximately 50 times longer than incandescent light bulbs and draw very little electricity. Another benefit is LED lights increase safety with a lowered risk of a possible fire as they produce minimal heat. Best of all, though LED lights cost more than traditional incandescent lights, you will be saving money in the future as LEDs use less energy and do not need to be replaced as often.

Worst Option: C-9 Retro Bulbs

C-9 light bulbs are typically large with a bright light and retro aesthetic. The downside to these light bulbs is they get dangerously hot and use a great deal of energy. For your own safety, you need to periodically check C-9 bulbs for excess heat production due to the possibility of a fire or electrical short. If you plan to use your holiday lights all night, you can expect your energy bills to increase.

Check Older Incandescent Light Strings

Consumer Reports recommends carefully examining older incandescent light strings before using them.

  • Check for frayed wires
  • Make sure wires are still pliable; not brittle
  • Hooking many strings together risks power overload

It’s normal for incandescent bulbs to feel warm.

Safety Tips:

  • Never nail or staple light strings to roofs, walls, and/or baseboards (this can impair wire insulation)
  • Hang lights over nails for exterior lighting, use hanging clips for interior lighting
  • Use a timer for holiday lights to help reduce energy usage or dangers of a fire
  • Make sure to use outdoor lights outdoors and indoor lights indoors- exterior lights will produce too much heat for indoor usage and in order to use lights outdoors, they must be weather-resistant (double check to see if lights are safe for both outdoors and indoors)

Kirby Electric is a Premier Electrical Contractor Serving the Greater Seattle Area

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial lighting. We provide top electrical services that best fit your building’s needs and present energy management solutions. Such solutions provide economically and environmentally beneficial services. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

10/27/20 This post has been updated to include new information about LED light strings.

18 Sep 2018

Indoor vs Outdoor Lighting: Are They Interchangeable?

When lighting needs replacement in the office, it is important to pay attention on whether the light bulbs are for indoor or outdoor use. Outdoor light bulbs are more variable. Typically, they are interchangeable for indoor and outdoor use. In contrast, indoor lights are not designed to withstand outdoor temperature changes. Discover which light bulbs are for indoor or outdoor use, or both.

UL Rating

First, the best way to figure out whether a light bulb can be utilized outdoors is by discovering the UL rating. Generally, most lighting fixtures are rated and tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Also, UL has a specific rating for particular locations as well. Below are the different locations and with the corresponding UL rating:

  • UL Listed- Dry Locations: labeled: “UL Listed”
    • includes living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, hallways, kitchens, most bathroom areas
  • UL Listed- Damp Locations: labeled “Suitable for Damp Locations” or “Suitable for Wet Locations”
    • includes bathtubs, showers, indoor pool areas, utility rooms
  • UL Listed- Wet Locations: labeled “Suitable for Wet Locations”
    • used both wet indoor and outdoor locations
    • includes gazebos, walkways, open patio and decks, outdoor dining areas

Note on damp rated products or fixtures. Utilize in outdoor areas only when they are fully covered and not exposed to water. For example, a covered patio.

Safe Light Bulb use for Specific Locations

Discover which types of light bulbs can be used indoors, outdoors, or both:

  • LED Lights: used both indoors and outdoors
  • Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: used indoors and outdoors
    • check the max temperature the bulb can endure from its packaging for outdoor use
  • Incandescent Flood Light Bulbs: used both indoors and outdoors if not in contact with water
    • used outdoors: incandescent flood light bulbs created to withstand elements
  • Halogen Spotlights and Flood Light Bulbs: used indoors and outdoors
  • Xenon Bulbs: used both indoors and outdoors (double check packaging for particular use)
  • Metal Halide Light Bulbs: used indoors and outdoors

Contact Kirby Electric to Inspect Your Office Today

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial electrical solutions. We provide top electrical services such as, lighting retrofitsemergency service repairspreventative maintenance, and electrical inspections that best fit your building’s needs. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.