Electrical Safety: Holiday Decorating
Electrical safety isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind when the boxes are brought down from the attic. The kids are giddy to find their favorite ornaments. You’re filled with nostalgia as you dust off the menorah. No matter what holiday you celebrate, there are some things to keep in mind as you transform your home for the season.
ESFI conducted a study and found that:
“…almost two-thirds of respondents use electric lights in their indoor decorating scheme, while more than half use lighted decorations outside their homes. More than 60% of those who decorate their homes for the holiday utilize at least one extension cord.” – 2013 ESFI consumer survey
Here are some electrical safety tips to keep your loved ones and home safe this holiday season.
- Consider using LED lights. They are cool to the touch. Old-style incandescent bulbs are less energy-efficient and could get too hot. This is dangerous around live holiday decorations. Hanging hot lighting on a dry Christmas tree is a fire hazard.
- Use the correct extension cords. Lining the rooftop with twinkle lights usually requires at least one extension cord. Check the label to see if they are rated for “indoor” or “outdoor” use. Outdoor extension cords have “jackets” which properly insulate the conducting wires. This prevents moisture and abrasion from damaging the cords and becoming a fire hazard.
- Turn them off. When you’re going to be away from home, for any amount of time, practice electrical safety. Turn off all your holiday lighting decorations. You should also turn them off when you turn in for the night.
- Avoid counterfeit decor. Dancing Santas, singing donkeys, and a plethora of electronic tabletop holiday decorations hit the shelves this time of year. Be sure to check the labels! It should be designated with the certification label of a recognized testing laboratory such as UL, ETL, or CSA. Counterfeit electrical holiday decorations can cause fires and burn injuries.
- Don’t overload circuits. It’s tempting to plug in an outlet strip and plug all your lights and other electronics into it. However, that outlet may be connected to a circuit that cannot handle running all those electronics at once. It will overload and could burn out.
- Check the cords. Holiday electrical decorations only come out once a year. They may be stored in basements or attics where temperatures fluctuate. Mice or squirrels may get into the storage boxes and have a snack. Check ALL the cords on your holiday lighting and electronic decorations. If the cords are cracked, frayed or show any other signs of damage, they should be thrown out.
More electrical safety tips
To learn more about electrical safety for your home or workplace, we highly recommend checking out ESFI. They also have social media accounts to make it easier to receive information. The Tuesday Tips that they publish on Facebook are helpful and easy to share with others.
If you need a local, professional electrician to help you with any of the items on the checklist, you can reach us by calling 860-228-1036.