Many of our members are already putting up Halloween lights and decorations and will put up more throughout the holiday season.
But before you take the Griswold approach to decorating, consider this: according to the National Safety Council, more than $7.9 million in property damage occurs yearly from the improper use of decorative lights. Inefficient holiday lighting can also run up your electric bill, so we’re here with some tips to make sure you’ll have a safe and efficient holiday season.
Holiday Light Safety Tips:
– Before putting up holiday decorations, check all lights for frayed wires, damaged sockets, or cracked insulation.
– Don’t overload electrical outlets. No more than three standard size light sets should be used per extension cord.
– Make sure outdoor cords, plugs and sockets are weatherproof and that outdoor outlets are equipped with a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which monitors electricity flowing in a circuit and trips the circuit if there’s an imbalance. This is particularly important in wet areas. Never let a cord run through a puddle, even if the manufacturer says it’s OK.
– Only buy lights that contain the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label to ensure they meet adequate safety requirements.
– Use miniature lights or LED strings to decorate this season instead of incandescent lights. Not only will these lights use less energy and last longer than larger bulbs, but they’re also safer around children since they don’t get hot like traditional lights.
– Set holiday lights on automatic timers to minimize the time lights stay on overnight and during the day.
– Get creative with your decorations, and consider using reflective ornaments, bells and tinsel to create the shine you’re trying to achieve with lights.