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Safe Holiday Lights

December 13, 2012

LED lightsI have my holiday decorations up earlier than usual this year – due to my hosting the holiday party for a women’s group I have belonged to since I was pregnant with our 32-year old.  Some years I’m wishy-washy about decorating, but this year I enjoyed it.  New this year in my decorating scheme is timers.  I bought battery-powered candles for the windows, and  battery-powered lights for the wreaths as well.  What do they have in common?  They are all LED and all have internal timers.  When you start them, they are on for 6 hours, off for 18 hours, then on again….I have to admit I was a bit of a skeptic, since they were very reasonably priced.  So far, they are are working wonderfully.

The Christmas tree grower we support grows a variety of trees.  I know I shouldn’t like it, since it’s not a native species, but I love the Concolor Fir.  Hey, I’m doing Vermont a favor by cutting it down, right?  The Concolor Firs are very full, with longer needles than the Balsam Fir and a lovely aroma.  Within 2 hours of cutting it down, it was in the stand and having its first drink.  It is amazing how much water this tree drinks – the better part of a fifth (a wine bottle’s long neck reaches in there perfectly, so that’s how I measure!) twice a day.

A number of years ago we invested in strings of LED lights for the tree.  This year I bought a timer for the tree as well and have synched the tree with the window candles and the wreaths.  I have them come on shortly before I come home from work; it’s very inviting as I come in the driveway.  I feel very safe in having these lit with no one home because they are LED.  LEDs, or Light-Emitting Diodes do not get hot like incandescent lights do.  They are always cool to the touch.  They use about 90% less electricity than incandescent as well; I am not worried about overloading  plugs.  The LEDs are far less breakable than the incandescent; there’s no metallic filament to burn out or break, the diode is protected by a durable plastic, not breakable glass.  The lifespan is expected to be 10X the incandescent lifespan.  The wiring of the lights we bought is much higher quality than many incandescent sets out there; these may be the last sets of lights we need to buy.

Having experienced a barn fire has changed our lives; the woodstove hasn’t been used since before the fire. The only candles we use are battery-powered.  You might say that I’m overly cautious, but the inexpensive strings of incandescent holiday lights that are out there just plain scare me.  A neighbor had an incandescent window candle light fall off the sill and melt a hole in her rug; this could have easily led to a house fire.  Be safe, keep that tree watered (if it’s a real tree), do check the wiring of your lights before they go on the tree, don’t overload your plugs, use candles safely and have a Happy Holiday season.

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