Safe Holiday Decorating
It wouldn’t be the holiday season without gorgeous light shows twinkling up and down the street. For some of us, driving or walking through the neighborhood admiring the holiday displays has become a yearly tradition. If you’re planning to set up a show of lights that will be the star of the season, make sure you put safety at the top of your list.
1. Check the Lights.
Look your lights over carefully before you use them. Don’t use lights that are frayed or worn out. If wires are popping and twisting out, it’s time to replace the string.
Never change a bulb without unplugging the light fixture first.
2. Use Safe, Cool LED Lights.
LED lights are an excellent choice for outdoor displays. They’re long-lasting so you never have to worry about changing the bulbs. The Northern Virginia Electrical Cooperative estimates that people who use LED holiday lights use 90 percent less energy than incandescent holiday bulbs.
Since LED bulbs don’t heat up as regular bulbs do, there’s no danger that they’ll burn your outdoor plants or your fingers.
LED bulbs are available in holiday light strings, outdoor floodlights and lots of great colors.
3. Don’t Get Overloaded.
Putting too many lights on a single outlet is asking for trouble. You will overload the wiring and create a fire and shock risk.
Don’t string together more than three light strings. They can overheat quickly.
Hot outdoor lights can burn your trees, grass, and plants. Keep your plants and your house safe by using LED bulbs and fiber optic trees.
4. Watch the Candles.
Candles are a beautiful, fragrant holiday accessory. They’re also a fire risk if left unattended. Make sure an adult is always around if candles are lit. Always put candles out before you leave the house.
5. Try Fiber Optic Trees.
Like LED lights, fiber optic trees are ideal for creating a colorful display that isn’t a fire hazard. Fiber optic trees come with white or colored lights already embedded in them. You can find them in all shapes and sizes.
You can also find fiber optic displays in holiday hangings, artwork, and banners. Create an eye-catching light display without the fire hazards.
6. Check the Waterproofing.
Your outdoor lighting sets must be rated for outdoor use. Look for the Underwriter Laboratories (UL) rating to make sure the set you’re buying can be hooked up outside.
All outdoor circuits should be protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). You can buy outdoor GFCIs that an electrician can install for you.
7. Double-Check Smoke Detectors.
With all the candles, lights and fireplaces you use during the holidays, make sure you’re not stirring up smoke or fire. Before you start loading up the lights, check your smoke detectors and replace the batteries if necessary.
8. Ladder Up.
Are you climbing up on the roof like Santa? If so, check the ladder before you do. Make sure it’s not loose, rusting or about to collapse.
For extra safety, use a wooden or fiberglass ladder outdoors. They don’t conduct electricity as readily as metal ladders do.
9. Get a Fire Extinguisher.
A huge holiday display that goes up in flames might be funny in a movie, but it’d be a disaster if it happened to you.
Think about your family’s safety and invest in a good fire extinguisher or two! Chances are good that you won’t need it, but having it will give you peace of mind.
10. Stay Safe with SESCOS
SESCOS wants all of our customers to stay safe this holiday season. We can help you put up a light display that will be the envy of all your neighbors and won’t burn your house down. Call us today for help with any holiday or non-holiday electrical needs.