With the holidays just around the corner, we’re guessing things are hectic around your home. You’re getting ready for company and putting the finishing touches on your decorations. Without adding undue stress, we’re here to give you tips on something that may have fallen to the back of your mind: Christmas tree fire safety. Here are some ways to stop a burning Christmas tree from ruining your holiday.
1. Pick a tree that’s green.
Fresh Christmas trees are much less likely to catch on fire than those that are already starting to dry out. Dry trees can ignite in a second and become a raging fire in less than a minute. When picking out your tree, pay attention to how the needles look and feel. If they look brown, come off the branches easily and snap between your fingers, the tree is too dry. Instead, look for vibrant green needles that look waxy and don’t break easily.
2. Place your tree strategically.
Being aware of heat sources in your home is the next step in preventing a Christmas tree fire. You should always maintain a distance of at least three feet between your tree and any sources of heat. This includes fireplaces, candles, space heaters and radiators. Remember, it only takes one spark on a dry tree to create an out-of-control flame.
3. Keep your tree watered.
How much should you water your Christmas tree? If you said a gallon a day, you’re right! Trees need even more water the first few days and may need more in general depending on their size, so make sure not to skimp. Once you notice needles beginning to fall, your tree is a fire hazard and should be removed from your home.
4. Use appropriate types of lights.
Only use UL-listed Christmas lights for your tree (check the manufacturer’s directions) and be sure you’re not overloading your outlets by connecting too many light strings together. We recommend connecting a maximum of three traditional light strings together. You can also switch to energy-efficient LED lights instead, which produce much less heat, and flameless candles, which can look and feel like the real thing without the danger of an open flame.
5. Turn off the lights when you leave.
Any time you leave the room, you should turn off your Christmas lights and extinguish any candles or other sources of heat, like fireplaces. This is especially important when you’re leaving the house or going to bed. Enjoy the cozy firelight when you’re relaxing at home with your family, but when you go to bed, make sure it’s lights out.
6. Know when to take down your tree.
We know it’s hard to say goodbye, but listen to this—half of all Christmas tree fires occur in the 20 days AFTER the holiday, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Even a well-watered tree begins to show signs of drying out after four weeks. That means if you put your tree up around Thanksgiving, you should take it down right after Christmas.
Have a Safe Holiday with National Property Inspections
National Property Inspections is your partner for a safe and festive holiday season. Your local NPI inspector provides many services to help you keep your home’s most important components in tip top shape this winter. Locate your nearest inspector and make an appointment today.