Christmas is always exciting as we spend time with our loved ones, exchange gifts, and wrap up the year. Unfortunately, the holidays can present unique hazards as we decorate our homes. In fact, Christmas-related injuries affect 18,000 Americans annually, not to mention the potential home damage from fire and smoke. Keep these four tips in mind as you put up and take down your Christmas decorations this year.
1. Watch Out for Fire Hazards
During the holidays, the primary sources of fire hazards at home are Christmas trees, lighting decorations, and kitchens. Home damage from fires is easily avoidable if you follow the tips below:
· Choose the Right Christmas Tree
If you want a natural or living Christmas tree, keep it hydrated to prevent it from accidentally catching fire. If you choose an artificial Christmas tree, check its fire rating. A fireproof artificial tree should have a UL rating indicating that it’s tested and certified to withstand heat.
· Choose the Right Placement
Whether natural or artificial, keep your Christmas tree close to your electrical outlet to prevent tripping hazards from power strips and lighting cords. Also, place your tree away from heat sources like the fireplace or room heaters.
· Use Flameless Candles
Opt for battery-powered flameless candles to add a festive glow to your Christmas decorations. Open flames can damage homes if left unattended, accidentally knocked down, or placed near flammable items.
· Choose Christmas Lights Carefully
It’s easy to overload your power supply with Christmas lights indoors and outdoors. Use heavy-duty power strips and check your lights’ wattage to prevent an electrical fire. Check that there are no empty bulb sockets in your string lights. Turn off the Christmas lights when you sleep or leave the house.
· Decorate the Fireplace Mindfully
Consider the weight of wreaths, garlands, and stockings as you hang them around your fireplace. Secure them with fishing lines, self-adhesive hangers, and zip ties to support these decorations.
· Use the Right Disposal Methods
Don’t burn gift wrappers or your Christmas tree in your fireplace or wood stove, or you may risk starting a fire that you can’t control. Instead, put away waste papers and boxes for recycling. Consider chopping and drying your real Christmas tree for firewood for an outdoor bonfire. You can also repurpose an artificial tree to create centerpieces, napkin rings, or other creative DIYs.
· Pay More Attention When Cooking
As you prepare that wonderful Christmas lunch or dinner, watch out for distractions from children and guests. Keep all potholders, paper towels, dish towels, and other flammable objects away from the stovetop. Don’t leave any pots unattended.
Note: Outdoor Christmas decorations require additional safety precautions:
- Keep power strips and lights away from snow or standing water.
- Use decorations rated for outdoor use only, and don’t overload outlets to avoid overheating and fire.
- Fasten all lights and decorations securely to your house or trees to keep them from wind damage.
- If you’re using spotlights, keep them well-ventilated, safe from the elements, and away from flammable objects.
- In addition, keep all decorations at least 10 feet away from power lines.
These precautions prevent home damage from electrical fire hazards outside your home.
2. Protect Your Floors and Carpets
The floor takes a lot of home damage during the holidays, not just from the additional foot traffic but from Christmas trees. A Christmas tree tends to leave indentations in the carpet and scratch wooden floors. To avoid expensive damage restoration after the holidays, keep these tips in mind:
- Place your Christmas tree in a sturdy basket to protect the floor. Disguise the basket with wrapping paper or a tree skirt.
- Use a plywood slab underneath the Christmas tree, either on its own or with a waterproof, non-slip mat.
- Water your Christmas tree carefully to prevent excess moisture from spreading into the surrounding floor or carpet.
- Seal glittery decorations with a clear sealer or hairspray to keep the sparkles out of the floors and carpets.
- Place Christmas-themed area rugs where you expect heavy traffic, like doorways or at your main entrance. These rugs keep dirt and water off your floors and prevent scuff marks and scratches.
- If you plan to host many parties during the holiday season, use gentle cleaners to keep your floors spotless. Soap and water are often enough to remove spills and stains from surfaces. Avoid harsh cleaners that can damage hardwood floors and tile grout.
3. Protect Your Walls and Windows
Think about how you’ll decorate your walls and windows without causing any home damage. Adhesives like duct tape, nails, and screws can cost you thousands of dollars in damage restoration if they ruin the paint, insulation, or drywall. Try the tips below instead:
- Use self-adhesive hooks or hanging strips that remove easily from the walls. Check the weight rating to avoid overloading them with Christmas decorations.
- Use suction hooks on smooth surfaces like window glass and tiles instead of sticker hooks.
- Hang decorations on clear fishing lines with pegs or clips, such as Christmas stockings and cards. You only need to secure two ends of the line rather than use nails or screws.
- Removable mounting putty is excellent for wall decorations since it can hold up to a pound of weight and leaves no residue. You can also reuse it after the decorations come down.
- Use water-based spray snow on your windows that’s easy to clean. Cover the window frame and surrounding wall and floor surfaces before applying the artificial snow.
4. Keep Children and Pets Safe While Decorating
Curious cats and dogs always want to play with your Christmas tree decorations and lights, which can lead to accidental home damage. They may pull down the tree or drag string lights around the house and trigger an electrical fire. Children also love participating in the festive decorations but keep an eye on them for safety. If this is your first Christmas with a baby or four-legged friend, these tips can help keep them safe during Christmas decoration:
- Install a baby gate or puppy pen around your Christmas tree to keep toddlers and puppies from reaching the decorations and presents.
- Secure your Christmas tree to the wall or ceiling to support the weight of lights, decorations, and a climbing cat.
- Avoid decorating your tree with tinsel, angel hair, fake snow, and fragile ornaments. Tie ornaments down with twine instead of metal hooks.
- Cover electrical outlets to keep children from unplugging the Christmas lights.
- Consider giving your younger kids a smaller Christmas tree of their own. Choose a child-safe tree made from felt and let them decorate it with paper ornaments.
- Wrap and unwrap Christmas gifts away from the fireplace, candles, or other heat sources. Otherwise, children can easily trip on the wrappers or throw them in the fire.
Have A Safe Festive Season This and Every Year
Here at New York Total Damage Restoration, we want you to enjoy wonderful holidays with zero home damage. Use this guide to safeguard all the critical areas in your home prone to damage during the holidays. If you’d like to prepare your home for the holidays, NYTDR handles damage restoration from fire, smoke, water, mold, and asbestos.
We take care of the entire process from start to end, including insurance adjustment, home design, contracting, and construction. NYTDR is ready to get your home back in shape for the holidays. Get in touch with us online or call 212.206.1300 to discuss the best damage restoration plan for your budget and schedule today.