Homes in the Merrimack and the Greater Boston Area have been shining bright this season! It is always good fun to decorate your home in a swath of beautiful Christmas lights—taking them down and putting them away, on the other hand, is not so merry and bright.

The key to avoiding these frustrations and ensuring that your Christmas display is safe begins with how you store them. At Klostermann Electric, we’re passionate about providing quality electrical work for homeowners, property managers, and business owners in Merrimack and the Greater Boston Area—and that includes sharing some tips on how to protect your lights! Read on for some top tips on how to properly store your holiday lights during the off-season, so that next year’s decorating will be hassle free!


1. Remember That Planning and Organization Is Key

Shoving the lights into a box in a tangled mess with other decorations is the wrong way to do it. Not only is it a recipe for disaster for next year, but it only takes a few extra minutes to do it right. Avoiding tangles is crucial because it can kink the wires and cause a potential safety hazard.

Every year, the U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 790 home structure fires caused by holiday decorations. There’s an average of one fatality, 26 injuries, and an estimated $13 million in property damage each year. While you’re putting away your holiday lights, take a moment to inspect the outlets. If you suspect a problem with your property’s electrical wiring, reach out to the team at Klostermann Electric! We’ll make sure your home or business’s electrical is up to code.

To avoid potential safety risks, opt to invest in special light storage containers that allow you to coil the wires in an organized fashion. Boxes are also available that have compartments for separate light strands. Special reels are available that will enable you to wrap them safely. In a pinch, you could always cover them around a piece of cardboard to keep the wires from becoming tangled or crimped. Inspect the plugs of your lights and extension cables for any signs of damage—such as a broken prong—before you pack them away.

Important: If you suspect a prong has broken off in your outlet, do not attempt to retrieve it! Instead, give the electrical professionals at Klostermann Electric a call.


2. Keep Them Dry

Electricity and water do not mix, and it is essential to keep your lights dry throughout the season, even for lights designed for the outdoors. Protection from moisture also includes protection from things like humidity and condensation. You can use special containers to keep them dry or place them in a Ziploc bag. Another good tip is to pack them away with something to absorb moisture, like a desiccant pack, to help even more.

Another thing to consider is the weather. If you anticipate a severe storm—like the famous nor’easters that Merrimack and the Greater Boston Area are known for—or have recently sustained damage to your home, your Christmas lights could also be damaged. If you have concerns about your lighting system, contact our team to come to inspect your home.


3. Protect the Bulbs

Whether you are using wire reels or storing your lights in boxes, it is important to wrap each set in a newspaper, tissue paper, or bubble wrap to prevent the bulbs from getting broken. You can secure each light strand safely in its tiny package with a piece of masking tape and place them in a safe storage box or bin.


4. Give Them a Good Inspection

Before putting any Christmas lights away, you should give them a good inspection. Discard any lights that have kinks in the electrical wiring or worn plugs. You should also inspect the entire length for nicks or missing areas in the plastic coating. Once again, throw them away if you find any of these. It would be best if you only used lights that are UL-approved and undamaged. It is much better to spend a few extra dollars on new lights than risk a house fire.

When was the last time you inspected your outdoor outlets? Many animals like to make these spaces their home. If you notice debris, dirt or unwelcome guests near your outlet, it is best to remove any residue on the outside of the outlet and securely close it off from the elements. If you suspect your outlets may have damage, it never hurts to consult the pros for advice.

Now you know a few tips for how to store your holiday lights during the off-season to make the next season safe and enjoyable. Contact Klostermann Electric LLC in Lowell, MA, for your residential and commercial electrical needs any time of the year. We are professional electricians that offer electrical work, service upgrades, electrical property management, and new construction installations in Greater Boston and Merrimack Valley.

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