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Yes, Even Artificial Christmas Trees Catch Fire

Real or fake? When it comes to Christmas, you have fierce loyalists on either side. They both make compelling arguments. For many families, selecting the perfect tree from the lot or hiking into the woods to fell your own is a cherished tradition. For others, artificial trees do the job, minus the dropping needles and water demands. (Plus, they look like the real deal.)

But there’s no arguing that fake Christmas trees are safer.

Natural Christmas trees are exponentially more likely to go up in flames than an artificial one. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, fires involving real trees outnumber fires involving fake trees three to one.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions with manufactured trees. Artificial trees aren’t nearly as flammable, but they pose certain electrical hazards that can be easily avoided.

Follow These Safety Tips for Your Christmas Tree, Real or Artificial

Clean it: Unless you keep your tree in a box, it will have collected a lot of dust and debris in your attic or basement. All that buildup is dangerously flammable when combined with string lights. Wipe down the branches with a clean wet cloth.

Inspect the lights: Before hanging lights, inspect the strings for cracked lamp holders, missing or broken bulbs, and frayed or bare wires.

Don’t overload the outlet: An overloaded outlet is an electrical fire waiting to happen. According to the NFPA, electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 40% of Christmas tree fires. (The majority of those were real Christmas trees, but why take any chances?)

Use LED lights: LEDs aren’t as hot as conventional lights, plus they’re more energy-efficient.

Keep the tree away from heat sources: Ensure at least three feet of clearance between your tree and a fireplace, plug-in heater, boiler, or other heating appliance.

Turn off lights before going to bed: Unplug your lights or switch off the power strip before going to bed. Better yet, put your tree on a timer.

Bottom line: Have a holly, jolly and safe Christmas by exercising a little caution -- even if you opt for an artificial tree. For all of your electrical needs this winter, turn to the pros at AAA Service Plumbing, Heating & Electric. To schedule an appointment, call (303) 622-3449.

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