Holiday Home Safety

The month of December may be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but it can also be the most dangerous time of the year for homeowners. The household décor that makes the holidays jolly also poses a great threat of fire and other dangers. Protect your house and family this season by following these safety tips.

Holiday Lighting

Because string lights are usually only used for one month out of the year, they are often thrown into a cramped box at the beginning of January and stuffed away in the attic until they are needed again nearly 11 months later. Treating your lights like this can lead to frayed wires, cracked sockets and kinked cords, all of which can cause lights to catch fire. Be sure to check your lights each year for these issues to avoid using faulty lights. If you need to purchase new lights, consider buying LED lights. Not only are they more energy efficient, but they also don’t get as hot as traditional holiday lights, reducing the risk of fire.

When displaying your lights, don’t use metal nails or tacks to hang the cords. Instead, invest in insulated tape or plastic clips. Keep connectors off the ground and away from metal gutters to avoid combustion. Never connect more than three light strings to one individual wall plug, otherwise, you run the risk of overloading the circuit. If you are using extension cords, stick to one per wall plug. Attaching multiple extension cords together increases the risk of fire. Be sure to never leave your lights on for an extended period of time or while you are sleeping.


Whether you are in favor of artificial or real holiday trees, both require precautions to keep your home safe. If you are purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is flame resistant. Real trees should be cut right before going into your home so they will stay fresh the entire season. Be sure to water the tree every day to avoid weak, brittle needles that can easily catch fire. No matter which type of tree you display, be sure to keep it at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, heaters and radiators.

If your tree is metallic, do not put any string lights on it. Even the slightest fault in the lights can increase the charge in the tree and electrocute anyone who touches it. When hanging ornaments, properly dispose of any old ornaments that you suspect may have lead paint particles or any ornaments with sharp edges. If you are displaying décor with moving parts on your tree, such as a train or spinning ornaments, be sure to place them high enough so kids won’t try to touch them and accidentally knock over the tree.


Fireplaces are a great way to stay warm and cozy during the winter months, but extra care should be taken when they become surrounded by holiday decorations in December. Before starting a fire in your fireplace, always make sure the chimney flue is open and clean. It is best to have a professional clean your chimney each fall and check for any potential issues.

If you hang stockings or pine garland from your fireplace or leave presents on your hearth, make sure they are all removed before starting a fire. Flying sparks can cause combustion, especially when flammable items are close to the open flames. Resist the urge to throw loose pines from your tree or ripped wrapping into the fire. These items create lots of floating embers that can catch your roof (or your neighbor’s) on fire.

If a new home is at the top of your holiday list this year, look no further. Our experienced realtors will get you into the home you thought only Santa could find! Whether you are looking to rent or buy, we will help you through every step of the process. Give us a call at (618) 659- 5565 or visit