When you're decking the halls this holiday season, it's smart to keep safety in mind. After all, few things douse the holiday spirit faster than potential fire hazards in your home. You probably know not to leave old lights burning on a dry-ass Christmas tree for too long, lest it become kindling. However, recent advances in technology have made lights that are cooler and safer than ever. With this in mind, are LED lights OK to leave on all night or should you shut them off before hitting the sack?
For starters, why have LED lights become so popular in recent years, anyway? Well, there is no shortage of people who absolutely sing their praises. In fact, a 2016 study from Consumer Reports noted that LED lights use far less energy, stay cool to the touch, and dim over time (instead of burning out). Oh, and LEDs tend to be longer-lasting and more durable to boot, as further noted by Consumer Reports. Even popular design blogs such as Apartment Therapy recommend LED holiday lights for their long-lasting, energy-efficient brightness. Basically, choosing LED lights over traditional strands is a great decision.
So with their cooler-burning bulbs, do LED lights present the same fire hazards as previous types of decorative lights? Not at all. In the old-school light strands, whenever one bulb blew out, it caused the rest of the lights on the strand to burn even hotter, as noted by Fire Protection Online. When these blazing bulbs maintained contact with a dried-out fir tree, it's easy to see how Christmas tree fires began. Fortunately, because they are cool to the touch and simply dim over time, LED lights do not present these hazards.
However, there is one part of the light strand to keep in mind: the transformer. As further noted by Fire Protection Online, it's crucial to make sure the transformer does not overheat, as this could lead to potential safety issues. With this in mind, it's a good idea to turn off your LED lights at night so the transformer has time to cool down and avoid the risk of overheating. You can always switch your lights back on to enjoy again tomorrow evening.