3 Electrical Safety Tips for the Holidays
Millions of homeowners will decorate with imaginative light displays for the holidays, to spread cheer throughout their homes and their neighborhoods.
There are right and wrong ways to set up and operate these holiday light displays. Many people know the basics - like how you shouldn't overload an outlet with too many plugged-in cords. But there's more to holiday electrical safety than that. Here are three other key safety tips forusing a brilliant display of holiday lights this season:
1. Start with an Inspection
According to the Electrical Safety Authority, you should carefully inspect every element of your holiday lightning display. Before you string up your lights and run extension cords, avoid potential hazards by checking to see that your electrical cords aren't frayed. Although taking the time to check that lights aren't damaged can be a time-consuming task, it's crucial to help avoid a potential hazard.
You should make sure that whatever lights you're using are the right ones for the job. Manufacturers rate some lights for particular settings, including those specifically appropriate for indoor use. Installing these fixtures outside, exposed to winter weather, could lead to cracked or damaged lights and that, in turn, can present major safety hazards.
Don’t forget to carefully read the instructions to determine safe installation methods. In many cases, manufacturers will recommend that no more than a few strings of lights be connected to each other for extended periods of time.
2. Avoid Too Much DIY
Many homeowners use elaborate holiday decorations, but safety during the setup and continual display is of the utmost importance to keep them running without electrical issues.
The Health and Safety Institute advises against running extension cords through walls and ceilings. Doing so can pose a major holiday safety hazard, as cords could overheat, potentially leading to a fire.
You should also avoid setting up lights in elaborate ways if that means you have to nail or staple the cords into place. Putting metal objects near electrical cords can be dangerous, because you risk potentially fraying or puncturing the cords. Fortunately, manufacturers sell clips that can help hold electrical cords in place.
3. Replace Old Lights
To avoid dangerous holiday lighting displays, refrain from using older lights and cords. Simply put, the longer you’ve had these items, the more wear and tear they've likely encountered.
Upgrade string lights and other displays that use less power - such as LEDs. This step will reduce the risk of overloading indoor outlets and exterior electrical boxes or potentially frying the system altogether.
LED lights tend to use far less energy than older incandescent bulbs and can help keep your home safe this holiday season. Repair plans from HomeServe can provide peace of mind. Enter your ZIP code to find out what affordable repair plans are available for homeowners in your area.