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Saturday, December 4, 2010

BUYER BEWARE

aka DEFECTIVE PRE-LIT TREE

"Christmas is a-comin'..."


Would you put these lights on your tree? Look carefully -

Yes there are 2 places that the wires coming out of sockets end as loose open wires.

 Yes there is also a loop of about 5 lights that are on a 3rd single wire running out of one of the sockets and back in another socket further down the line - in 2 different places.



Have you looked at the lights on your pre-lit tree?

Closely?

Are they safe?



I don't think mine were.
I wasn't comfortable with what I found.
No wonder there are so many fires!

Last year we wanted a new tree but decided we couldn't afford one.  We don't want big trees anymore and often only put up 4.5' trees.  [That is easy - just use the top two sections in the stand.  Leave the largest bottom section in the box. The top 2 sections are fuller and nicer than smaller trees on the market. Leaving the bottom section in the box doesn't affect the tree or its stability at all.]


After Christmas we saw a great sale on a small 6.5' pre-lit green tree and decided again - we bought it at the terrific price.

There were lots more - maybe you got one too. We even plugged it in at the store to be sure the lights worked.

We stowed it in the attic and just opened it today.
My husband unbaled it - funny - it was tied in a bundle just like the real trees you can get this time of the year.

As I began to 'fluff' it up I noticed a wire that looked like part of the light set had pulled apart - but it also looked like it was being used to secure the lights - that didn't seem very safe. I don't know much about electricity but maybe one of you does and can look closely at the pictures.

I looked more carefully and began tracing its source.  It was twisted around the branch and appeared to tie the lights to the branches - that would make sense I suppose - just use the same wire easily available to put things together with. I especially thought that might be the case when I found the next 2 wires - but it didn't make good sense either - why so much wire twisted and balled up all together in one spot?


Sloppy? - yes!

Cheap? - yes!

Safe? - ah that is the question.

I had been debating in my mind if I wanted to use colored lights or clear this year.  If I used colored I decided  they would be green.  Clear, colored, sigh, clear - it is too much trouble to replace them, green - I will put the green on and not plug in the clear - no that is just too much wire ...

Green, clear, green, clear, ....  this is where I was at when I saw the wire and began to investigate.  I unraveled it about a foot until I was certain one end fed directly into the set of lights on the top half the tree.

I had found meanwhile the next miscellaneous 2 wires - I started undoing them next. Those 2 wires turned out to be loose wires also that were twisted and then knotted around that light socket together.

GREEN - my decision came together rather quickly then.  My lights will be green this year. I had a genuine mess and I couldn't for the life of me see how it could possibly be safe.  We stripped those clear lights off the tree and will have a diy green pre-lit tree on hand for the future.  I will let you know how it turns out.


All the light sets we removed from the tree had miscellaneous wires with uncapped ends and extra loops of single wired lights looking like a third wheel on a date.  Common sense tells me that is not OK.

Am I just being paranoid?

NOPE - better paranoid than on fire.

Isn't common sense a gift in its own right?

And I wanted green lights anyway. [The basic tree is a decent enough little tree that was so inexpensive I will keep it and use it as is.]



Meanwhile - check your tree.
 Is it a fire hazard?