House & Home

Keeping Holiday Lights Safe

Posted December 10, 2007 1:40 p.m. EST
Updated December 11, 2007 5:33 p.m. EST

Tip No. 1 from the Ulta-Lit holiday hot line: Don't call from your roof.

It's happened more than once to the lighting professionals at 1-888-ULTA-LIT, who are there to give expert advice on repairing indoor and outdoor lights, pre-lit trees, wire-framed yard art and other holiday hazards.

"Once I got a call from a man who was on his roof trying to talk to me on his cordless phone. It was frustrating because he was out of range," says Ulta-Lit Tree company President John DeCosmo. "I also had a call from a woman who was the go-between for me and her husband, who was on their chimney."

The hot line was started 12 years ago to help customers who were left in the dark. According to SilentCall, a company that developed alert products, at least 8,700 people a year are injured by holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees.

Here are a few pointers from for hanging Christmas lights:

1. Use light strings that have a male plug at one end and a female receptacle at the other end and plug them together from end to end. This makes them easier to route.

2. In the case of mini-lights, short, 50-light strings are often a better bet than longer 100-, 150, or 200-light strings because you can easily unplug and replace a defective string.

3. For outdoor lights, choose lights that are UL-approved.

4. Indoor lights should only be used indoors.