Thursday, November 19, 2015

Holiday Lights Doing it Right Means Doing It Safely

The holidays are fast approaching and homes will be dressed up for the season with lighted decorations. It is important to take sufficient care to be sure your displays are safe as well as beautiful. To get you on your way to a wonderful season, we have put together a few basic safety tips and reminders to help have a worry free celebration.

Lights, Lights, Lights!
There are so many things that can go wrong with your lights. Be sure to follow these quick steps to avoid a fire hazard.

·         Check your lights thoroughly- discard and replace any that have frayed, cracked or damaged cords or wiring. Repairing them with electrical tape is not a solution.

·         When replacing burned out or damaged bulbs, be sure to unplug the lights first.
  • Buying new lights? Make sure lights are made in accordance to our safety standards and regulations. Some lights that you find online from other countries are not safe for use in the United States. Consider LED lights for a more efficient and safer light. LED lights are more expensive than incandescents, however, they will reduce your electric usage.
  • Be sure to remember to turn off all lights before you leave the house, or retire for the night. Although they are beautiful, you will not want to leave them unattended.

Power Sources
Safe lighting starts with a safe power source.
·         Your power source should be from a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI outlet). These outlets are the safest to use as they will shut off in case of an overcurrent. Although this is an added expense as you will need to hire a qualified electrician to install, it is a permanent outlet that can be utilized year round.

·         One common mistake in holiday decorating is overloading circuits. Be sure to follow the guidelines on the packaging for all lights, appliances, and decorations that you plan on using. Lighting packages will give you the maximum number of strings that can be connected which makes figuring that out very simple.

Christmas Trees
Did you know that Christmas trees are the number one source of holiday accidents?
·         Live Trees: Be sure to inspect your precut, live Christmas trees thoroughly.  Check these three indicators to find the freshest tree: strong branches that drop few needles when you shake the tree, needles that do not pull off easily, and a sticky resin, or sap on the trunk bottom on the cut. These indicators will help you find a tree that is fresh and will help you avoid a fire hazard.

·       Check the water in your tree stand daily to be sure the tree has a generous supply of water. Test your tree for dryness periodically by pulling on needles.

·         Artificial Trees: Today, most artificial trees come pre-lit. Follow the same tips for checking lights for your pre-lit trees as you would for decorative lights. Be sure that all cords are in good condition.

Follow these basic safety tips so you can relax and enjoy your holiday season! Please contact us if you need to check out power sources for damage or upgrade. Our certified electricians are available to help you.