Pacific Gas and Electric Company offers these tips for decorating the inside and outside of homes:
Before stringing outdoor lights, check for overhead power lines. Never place yourself or any object, such as a ladder, in a position where you or it may come in contact with a power line. The result can be fatal.
Before stringing lights on outdoor trees, make sure tree limbs haven't grown into or near power lines. Branches, entire trees and even the ground adjacent to a tree can become energized when trees contact power lines.
Make sure lights used to decorate the outside of the house are approved for outdoor use. Never use indoor lights outdoors.
Follow the manufacturer's limits for the number of light strings that can be connected together safely.
Check all light strands for cracked or broken plugs, frayed insulation or bare wires. Worn cords can cause fires, so discard damaged sets of lights.
Route cords inside your home so they won't trip anyone. Don't place them under rugs, furniture or other appliances. If covered, cords can overheat or become frayed, increasing the risk of fire.
Always turn off decorative lights, indoors and outdoors, when leaving the house and before going to bed.
Do not place your tree near a heat source such as a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, making it more susceptible to fires caused by heat, flame or sparks.
Purchase energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) holiday lights. LED lights can reduce energy consumption by as much as 90% when compared to traditional holiday lights and can shine brightly for up to 20 holiday seasons. A string of 300 LED holiday lights can cost less than $0.50 to operate during the holiday season, compared to nearly $70.00 for a string of 300 large incandescent holiday lights.