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· CHRISTIAN BUILDING INSPECTORS, INC., 3697 HABERSHAM LANE, DULUTH, GEORGIA 30096, 770-849-0920 · DECEMBER 2010 ·
Q&A
Cautions On Christmas Tree Lights
Decorative Christmas tree lights enhance the holiday scene,
but they can also be potentially hazardous. The hazards are
those of possible electric shock and fire.
Of the estimated 2,200 injuries from holiday decorations
treated in hospital emergency rooms across the country last
year, approximately 440 (one-fifth) were associated with
Christmas
tree
lights,
the U.S.
Consumer Product
Safety Commission
(CPSC) reports. The
potential
hazards
may exist in both the
standard
size
Christmas bulb and
the miniature bulb
string sets. The
miniature
lights
consist of very small
bulbs
and
are
sometimes
called
"minis," Italian or
midget lights. The
standard size bulbs
(designated as C7
and C9 sizes) are the
more traditional sizes.
To ensure a safer holiday season, CPSC urges consumers to
take a few extra moments to examine their
lights visually, while they are unplugged,
for the possible defects described below.
These few basic safety precautions can help
consumers reduce the risks of fire or
electric shock from defective bulbs or light
sets.
Many light sets use standard size
Christmas bulbs. For these sets, before
inserting replacement bulbs examine them
as follows:
· Examine each light bulb for improper
assembly. If the glass readily separates
from the bulb's base, the bulb should not
be used.
· Check each light bulb for protruding
wires from the solder tip at the bulb's base or at the side of
the bulb where the glass meets the base. If wire protrusions
are detected, consumers can repair the defect by cutting as
much of the protruding wire off as possible.
· Check each light bulb for excessive or irregular solder at
the bottom and side of each bulb base which may prevent
complete insertion of the bulb into the socket. If this
condition is found, the bulb should not be used.
Inspect the interior of each light socket carefully. Sets that use
the standard size bulbs often have lamp holders with two
metal tabs inside each socket. With the set still unplugged,
check to see if tabs are used. If they are, there should be a side
tab and a center contact at the bottom. If these two metal parts
come together when a bulb is inserted, or if these two parts
are both upright, a short circuit will occur when the set is
used. If you are not sure that the tabs in the socket are
correctly located, have a knowledgeable repair person check
the set before you use it.
There are also some special precautions to follow with the
miniature Christmas lights.
· When replacing miniature bulbs, be sure to use bulbs
having the same voltage rating (for example, a 3 volt lamp
to replace a 3 volt lamp, a 12 volt lamp to replace a 12 volt
lamp). This is particularly important to prevent dangerous
overheating, melting, and possible fire. Remember bulbs are
not marked individually with a voltage rating, so save the
voltage information on the bulb packaging.
· Burned out bulbs should be replaced promptly because the
remaining bulbs burn brighter and hotter for each burned
out bulb.
· Light sets with bulbs that burn out rapidly or sets that show
signs of melting around bulbs are early indications of
defective or incorrect lamps. These sets should not be used.
· Miniature lights have been
used in displays where lights
have been bunched up together
into a cup or pot for special
effects. Unless the set is
designed or recommended for
this use, the heat generated by
bunching the lights together
may result in melting, which could expose live parts.
Christmas lights are basically designed for decorating trees
and objects where lamps are separated so the heat of the
lamps is not concentrated.
For all types of Christmas lights:
· With the lights still unplugged, check the light string for
frayed insulation, loose connections, and exposed bare
wires. Repair or discard sets displaying these potential
trouble spots.
· Check all light sockets on the string to make sure none of
them are broken or cracked. If the sockets are broken or
cracked, the set should not be used.
· After visually examining the set, place it on a non-
Any set to be used outdoors should be specifically
constructed and labeled for outdoor use. Do not use indoor
lights for outside lighting. Remove outdoor lights as soon as
the season is over; they are not designed for prolonged
exposure to the elements, especially in winter weather.
To avoid the possibility of a dangerous electric shock, do not
insert or remove bulbs with the set plugged in, especially if
outdoors. Always unplug Christmas lights when you go to bed
or leave the house. Lights could short and start a fire.
Lastly, careful handling of lights during unpacking,
decorating and repacking will reduce the chances of
damaging a good set of lights.
CPSC's Web site at www.cpsc.gov.
Quote Of The Month
"There has been only one
Christmas –the rest are
anniversaries.”
W.J. Cameron
flammable surface and plug it in for 15 minutes before
decorating. If the set is not working properly, or if bulbs
don't light, repair or discard the set. Unplug the set when
decorating.
Everyone
Who Referred Us
In 2010
Thank You
CHRISTIAN BUILDING INSPECTORS, INC. 3697 HABERSHAM LANE, DULUTH, GEORGIA 30096, OFFICE 770-849-0920, FAX 770-849-0540
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