The weather outside may be chilly, but inside, your home is probably warm and cozy and fully decorated for the holidays. However, the increase in heat and electricity usage during winter can potentially be dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Association, December, January, and February are peak months for heat-related fires. We’ve gathered a few home safety tips to help you and your family be proactive this holiday season to avoid potential fire hazards.

Keep an Eye on Your Holiday Lights

Whether it is the lights on your Christmas tree or the lights on the roof of your home, there are many things you should consider before hanging these up.

Be Picky About What You Buy

Try not to choose your lights based solely on price, and instead make sure you find lights that are flame resistant. Look for the manufacturer’s name and information on the package to ensure it is a company you can trust.

Inspect Your Current Lights and Strings

Carefully observe all of your holiday lights and strings when you pull them out of storage. Are there any frayed cords, loose connections, or cracked sockets? If there are, be sure to discard these items. If you need to replace some bulbs, make sure you check that the wattage of the replacement bulb you have matches the original bulb, and keep the lights off as you switch them.

Use an Outdoor Timer

Outdoor decorative lights can make your house look beautiful, but leaving them on for large amounts of time can put your home at risk of an electrical issue. Connecting your lights to an outdoor timer lets you and your neighbors enjoy twinkling lights at night, but will make sure they are turned off at a specific time of your choosing to preserve energy and reduce your chances of an electrical fire.

Additionally, make sure your lights are always turned off when you are not home.

Don’t Connect Extension Cords Together

You may have lights in places that make it hard to reach an outlet, and an extension cord could be necessary. However, avoid trying to attach multiple extension cords together as this can be potentially dangerous. Instead, use a single cord that has enough length to reach the outlet you need. It may seem like an inconvenience at first, but doing this will eliminate the dangers of an overloaded circuit.

Protect Your Christmas Tree

Personal preference between a real or fake tree may differ from person to person, but what doesn’t change is the need to protect your tree from any type of flammable materials to avoid a damaging fire.

Be Mindful of Your Ornaments

You may have special, old ornaments you hang on your tree every year, but know that some older ornaments may have been painted with lead paint. Make a conscious effort to only hang non-flammable ornaments and decorations on your tree to avoid anything catching on fire.

Keep Candles at a Safe Distance

Candles add a serene, warm element to a space and are a favorite during the holiday season. Be sure that wherever you place them, they are not near your tree. Someone potentially walking past and bumping into the candle could be hazardous to your tree and your home.

Additionally, if your home has a gas fireplace, make sure that it is in proper working condition. If the gas panel happens to be broken or removed, call a qualified service technician to resolve your issue before using your fireplace again.

Have Your Furnace Inspected

Having your furnace inspected yearly by a professional, even if you don’t think there is an issue, can help give you peace of mind that your system is operating properly, and will allow you to diagnose any potential issues before they become too dangerous or costly. An HVAC professional will be able to inspect your system and clean out air ducts and filters so you can use your furnace safely once it gets cold outside.

Another way to stay proactive is to regularly test your smoke detectors and replace any old batteries. Keeping your home prepared in the case of a fire can help maintain the safety of you and your family.

Contact Your Local Smoke and Fire Restoration Experts

We understand how debilitating a house fire can be for a family. For over 60 years, ServiceMaster By Rice has been providing fire damage repair services to homeowners across Iowa. With experienced technicians and a proven restoration process, we will work carefully and efficiently to restore your home back to its original state as soon as possible. If you have any questions about our process or how we can help you, contact us today!