The holidays are a time of excitement and high energy when it comes to decorations – from the Christmas tree to the lights strung up outside to a cozy manger, and more. It was estimated by a consumer survey by ESFI.org in 2013 that over 86 percent of consumers decorate their home and about two-thirds used lights to decorate the outside. While holiday lights certainly give off that unmistakable holiday feel, they can also increase the likelihood of a fire or injury if used improperly and without the right safety precautions.
Ensure Electrical Safety for Your Home Over the Holidays
Being safe does not mean you cannot hang up your Christmas lights or even light candles. It does, however, mean taking extra precautions so that you can enjoy the holiday season and be stress-free.
- Inspect Your Decorations – Each year you put away your Christmas lights. So before you use them again, inspect them. Look for cracked or damaged sockets, any bare or frayed wires, and any loose connections. These pose a serious risk of shock and fire. If any faults are noticed, dispose of the decorative lights and get new ones.
- Be Aware of Your Electrical Load Limits – Overloading your electrical outlets can lead to a fire. Do not overload even with appliances while cooking your holiday feast. It is safe to allow only one high-wattage appliance or item per electrical outlet at a time.
- Connect Lights with Caution – Christmas lights can be connected to create long strings, but do not connect more than three strings otherwise you may blow a fuse.
- Use Battery or LED Candles Instead – You do not have to use a flame-burning candle to create the holiday ambience. Use battery-operated or LED candles to create the look without the fire risk.
- Keep Your Tree Fresh – Christmas trees are a high risk for household fires, especially when they dry out. Keep your tree fresh by refilling the water daily.
- Look for Certification – Before you buy or use any decorations, check for the proper certifications from independent testing laboratories, such as the Underwriters’ Laboratory.
- Combustibles – Never put combustibles near a flame source, which includes hanging stockings on the mantle while the fire is burning.
- Turn Off – Before retiring for the night, turn off all Christmas lights and decorations. If you are leaving the house, turn them off as well.
- Protect Your Plugs Outside – Christmas lights outside need to be protected. Do not leave connections in areas where they will be exposed to snow, ice or moisture.
Consult an Electrician
Finding the weaknesses in your home’s electrical system is not easy. If you are thinking of hanging Christmas lights, have your home inspected by an electrical contractor to make sure it can handle the load. An electrician can tell you if you need to update your breaker and can install a whole house surge protector to protect your home while everyone else has their lights running as well.
Call 732-332-1100 or fill out an online contact form to speak to the team at JLC Electrical Contractors today. We want to ensure your family has a safe and decorative holiday season, so let us help you get your home prepared.