While holiday lighting and electrical decorations contribute to the splendor of the season, they can significantly increase the risk fires and electrical injuries if not used safely. Following are some safety tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), the premier non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety at home, at school, and in the workplace.
Indoor Lights and Electrical Decorations:
- Always purchase electrical decorations and lights from reputable retailers that you trust.
- Before decorating, determine how many outlets are available and where they are located. Plan your displays accordingly.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices. They can overheat and cause a fire.
- Carefully inspect each electrical decoration. Cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.
- Use lights approved for safe use by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
- Follow the manufacturer’s use and care instructions that accompany electrical decorations.
- Never connect more than three strands of incandescent lights together.
- Consider purchasing LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than traditional incandescent lights.
- Do not mount or support light strings in a way that might damage the cord’s insulation.
- Always unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.
- Turn off and unplug all decorations before leaving the house or going to sleep.
Outdoor Lights and Electrical Decorations:
- Make sure all products, including extension cords, are marked for outdoor use.
- Always use a GFCI-protected outlet outdoors.
- Inspect all lights, decorations, and extension cords for damage before using.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, the house, or other firm supports to protect them from wind damage, but take care not to attach the lights in a way that could damage the cord’s insulation.
- Keep all extension cords and light strings clear of snow and standing water.
- Make sure spotlights used to illuminate decorations are well-ventilated, protected from weather, and a safe distance from flammable items.
Oak Electric Service is one of southeast Michigan’s leading electrical contractors. If you are contemplating upgrading your home’s electrical system, give us a call at (800) 964-7070. Be sure to ask about our “Free Electrical Safety Inspection.” We invite you to visit our website at www.oakelectric.com to learn more about us.