Electrical Safety Tips for the Holiday Season
The holidays are upon us, and that means lots of decorating, celebrating, and hosting festivities at your house! With all those added decorations—not to mention all the extra traffic, especially from little feet—it’s a good time to revisit some electrical safety advice from your friendly Springfield, Missouri electricians that will help keep you and your loved ones safe and sound this holiday season.
Don’t overload your electrical outlets. This is the number-one piece of advice we hand out every year around the holidays—and for good reason! Everything from holiday lights to space heaters gets plugged in all around the house this time of year. There’s just one problem: Plugging too many things into the same outlet can put too much strain on it, which is asking for trouble. Try to only plug one high-wattage item into each outlet at a time, and make use of extension cords or power strips that have built-in circuit breakers where you can.
Inspect all lighted décor. From that string of Christmas lights to the light-up, inflatable lawn decorations to your pre-lit Christmas tree, you’ll want to look over any and all lighted décor items before you put them up. You’re on the lookout for missing or broken bulbs, of course, but also any cracks in plugs or sockets, any wires that are loose or frayed, and so on. Any kind of damage to light-up decorations can result in shocks or other danger, so check them carefully. Remember that damage can happen in storage, too! If you’re shopping for new holiday lights, consider switching to LEDs. Not only are they more energy-efficient and longer-lasting, they also create less heat, reducing the risk of fires.
Use battery-operated candles. Few things are more disastrous during the holiday season than a power outage, but they do happen this time of year. You may be inclined to light some candles, but battery-operated candles are much safer than the real thing, as unattended candles are the cause of more than 50% of all holiday fires. Fortunately, you can find plenty of battery-operated candles on the market today, many of which look just like a real candle. Some of them even flicker and give off scents. Keep a dozen or so in stock in case the power goes out. You’ll be glad you did.
Keep your tree safe from fire. If you go for a real Christmas tree rather than artificial, don’t forget that trees need water, even the ones you cut down and bring inside the house. If you don’t keep water in the reservoir, not only will your tree not look as green and vibrant as it should, it will also dry out. Why do we mention this? Because lighting a dry tree (especially if you’re using older incandescent Christmas light strands) can be a fire hazard. Check to see if your holiday lights have a green Underwriters Laboratories (or UL) tag to show that the product is proven to be safe from fire or electrical shock. It will be a silver tag with the “UL” written on it in green.
Protect those cords! When you’re setting up your decorations this year, consider the placement of your electrical cords. Sure, they need to be someplace they can reach an outlet, but they also need to be safe, which means that you’ll want to put them somewhere they won’t be pinched, tripped over, or otherwise damaged. If you’re using cords outside, be sure that they’re labeled for outdoor use and that any connections are watertight.
Shut off lights when you sleep. Did you know that most dangerous fires take place when people are asleep? This is why it’s important to shut off any lighted or other electronic decorations when you turn in for the night or when you’re going to be away from the house. Unattended decorations are much more likely to cause fires, and the fires they do cause are less likely to be caught right away.
Need help with any of your holiday decorating? If you’re searching for an electrician near you, and you’re in the greater Springfield, Missouri area, TruStar Electric is here to help with any projects or problems this holiday season and all year round! Get in touch with the licensed electricians at TruStar to learn what we can do for you today. Happy holidays from all of us at TruStar Electric!