If you are one of those people who put enough light-up reindeer and animatronic elves on your roof to land a jumbo jet, you might want to think twice about it, you could cause your self some electrical problems. We should take extra safety precautions this time of the year. Maxing out extension cords and overloading circuits greatly increases the risk of fire. 7,000 fires a year are caused by power cord and overloading circuits. On average, every year 485 deaths and $868 million in property damage are caused by electrical fires, many of which result improper use of electrical decorations.
ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
1. Check indoor and outdoor lights before using them. To check, place them on a non-flammable surface and plug them in for at least 15 minutes to ensure they don’t smoke or melt.
2. Check lights, new and old, for broken bulbs, cracked sockets and loose connections. Also, check the wiring insulation to ensure it has not been frayed or cut.
3. When purchasing holiday lights, select those that use low-wattage bulbs. Be sure that the lights are UL safety approved.
4. Be sure that circuits, outlets and extension cords are not overloaded. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how many strings of lights can be safely connected together.
5. When stringing outdoor lights, use a dry wooden or fiberglass ladder and stay clear of overhead power lines.
6. Don’t use nails, tacks or staples to hang lights. Use insulated clip hangers instead.
7. Don’t use indoor lights outdoors. They are not waterproof.
8. Don’t use outdoor lights indoors. They burn hotter than indoor lights.
9. Make sure your live tree is watered every day to avoid the risk of fire.
10. Artificial trees should be flame resistant. Look for the safety label when purchasing an artificial tree.
11. Illuminate a metal tree with a spotlight. Never use regular tree lights.
12. Unplug the lights when changing a bulb and don’t connect lights while adjusting them on the tree.
13. Don’t run extension cords underneath rugs or carpet.
14. Install smoke detectors throughout your house and check the batteries annually.
15. Don’t leave holiday lights on while you’re sleeping or away from home. Placing lights on a timer is an easy way to ensure lights are turned off at night.