National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Question:

Happy Holidays to all! My neighbor does not believe me that the NEC covers Electrical Holiday Decorations. Can you please share your interpretation 590.3B, so I can kindly remind him that if he installs Holiday Lights in Late November, taking them down in July is a code violation? I really do like Frosty the Snowman, but not in the summer.

— Tom Cummins (aka The Grinch)

A

Answer:

Hey Tom thanks for your question. You are correct 590.3(B) limits temporary electric power and lighting installations, for holiday decorative lighting, to a 90-day period. Don't tell your neighbor but if they remove it after 90 days and immediately reinstall it they get 90 days again based on the literal wording. Yes, we know that is not the intent.

Decorative lighting used for this purpose must be listed as stated in 410.160 and listed and labeled as stated in 590.5.

Seasonal and Holiday Decorative Products, DGVT

include the statement " Temporary use is considered to be a period of installation and use not to exceed 90 days per year."

http://productspec.ul.com/document.php?id=DGVT.GuideInfo

Strings, Decorative Lighting, DGZZ

also intended not to exceed 90 days per year

http://productspec.ul.com/document.php?id=DGVT.GuideInfo

Interestingly there is another product category:

[Seasonal and Holiday Decorative Products] String Lights for All-year Use, DGZW

These will have a product identity " String Light for All-year Use"

http://productspec.ul.com/document.php?id=DGZW.GuideInfo

That last one doesn't appear to be consistent with 590.3(B), and they are probably more expensive, but enforcement of any of these requirements is often a challenge. Maybe offer to help you neighbor take down their holiday decorations in return for a frosty beverage!

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