With the holidays in full swing, the joy of the season and the excitement of having so much happening can easily lead us to get careless with electricity. But this is precisely the time to take extra care.
The U.S. Fire Administration explains that over 27,000 fires occur during the months of December and January, the most electrical fires of the year. These fires are largely due to heating issues and lights—the same lights used to cheer us up during the holidays.
Electrical safety is mostly intuitive and obvious. But for the same reason, electrical safety can be taken for granted and overlooked.
Tips to make sure the holidays are safe and free of fire hazards.
- Inspect all holiday decorations: Look for loose wires, damaged sockets, and bare wires. Besides being fire hazards, these also present the danger of electric shock.
- Make sure you install all lights and other electric holiday decorations according to manufacturers specifications, and do not overload circuits. This seems simple, but it is something people lose sight of in their zeal to make things festive.
- Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights. More than three can trip a circuit breaker and it can cause a fire.
Consider switching to LED lights. They use less electricity, remain cool to the touch, and they are far safer than older lights.
Always unplug decorations before changing bulbs.
- Check to make sure electrical decorations bear the proper inspections labels. Underwriters Laboratories (that familiar UL on the label) is the standard inspection sign.
Buy all your decorations from a reputable retailer. This is fairly routine, but in these days of global shopping, it is possible to buy from sources that have not been properly inspected
- Make sure all extension cords used for outdoor decorations are marked for outdoor use.
Keep all electric cords and extension cords free from snow and standing water.
Outdoor electric decorations and lights should be plugged into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters. If circuits are not GFCI protected, Artisan electric has a grounding and bonding electrician in New Hampshire to help you make the necessary updates.
- If you are using a live tree, make sure to keep the tree watered and moist. Dry trees are a serious fire hazard.
Use only lights and decorations compatible with use with a live tree and properly inspected for this type of use.
Keep the tree at least three feet from any source of heat.
- Unplug and extinguish any and all decorations when going out for any amount of time.
Obviously, any open flame such as holiday candles, present a serious danger. But even electric decorations can create enough heat, especially in the dry conditions created by heated houses, to present a fire hazard.
So many of these things are obvious, but at the same time, they are easy to forget. We all get caught up in the season and many of us become rushed to get things decorated and festive. Just do not let your zeal to make things festive compromise the safety of your home and your loved ones.
Artisan electric can provide you with an electrician in Portsmouth, NH and surrounding areas to help you evaluate and address the electrical safety needs in your home. We have qualified people who can install ground fault circuit and arc fault circuit protection precisely where you need these types of updates.
Artisan Electric can help you with these types of electrical questions and issues. Give us a call at 603-743-4005