12 Ways to a Safer Christmas
Transworld Electric wishes you and your family a safe and happy holiday season. We are so thankful for our wonderful customers that continue to trust our Charleston electricians year after year!
#1: Inspect all electrical decorations for damage before use.
Carefully inspect each electrical decoration and cord for damage before use. Always follow the manufacturer’s use and care instructions that accompany electrical decorations. If you notice that any of your lights or decoration has damage, it is best to toss them out to avoiding your lights to short and cause a fire. Also, avoid hanging lights with nails, tacks or screws because that can piece the cable on a string of lights. Instead we recommend hanging your lights on insulated hook to avoid this issue.
#2: Do not overload electrical outlets.
Avoid overloading outlets and only plug one high-wattage appliance into each outlet. It is important to match power needs (amperage) of electrical products with the amperage rating of extension cords. If the combined wattage of your lights is more than the wattage rating on the extension cord, it can overheat.
#3: Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights.
Connecting more than three strands of incandescent lights may not only trip a circuit breaker but also can cause a fire. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends linking no more than three stands of lights together but if you decide to use LED lights, then you can link up to 25 strands. Investing in LED lights will allow you to connect more strings together because they are cooler.
#4: Check decorations for certification label.
Always purchase electrical decorations and lights from reputable retailers. This helps to ensure that the products have been tested and protects against electrical problems and fires.
#5: Make sure all outdoor extension cords and electrical decorations are rated for outdoor use.
Not all decorating and extension cords are rated for outdoor use so it is important to inspect the label before placing outside. Indoor lights and extension cords can be damaged if they are placed outside and may cause electrical problems.
#6: Use hooks, not nails to hang lights.
Hanging your lights with hooks will help to make sure that the cord doesn’t get damaged or pieced and avoid any electrical hazards.
#7: Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters, GFCIs.
If circuits are not GFCI protected then we recommend purchasing portable outdoor GFCIs where electrical supplies are sold. These are simple to install and require no special knowledge. If is recommended to have GFCIs installed in all wet locations in your home and outside. If you notice you do not have any GFCIs installed in your home, call Transworld Electric and one our licensed electricians can install GFCIs in the proper locations.
#8: Protect electrical cords from damage.
To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors or windows, placed under rugs, located near heat sources or attached by nails or staples. These can all create an electrical hazard and a possible electrical fire.
#9: Turn off all decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house.
It is important to always remember to turn off all decorations before you go to sleep. Many decide to buy timers to place on decorations and lights; these are inexpensive and require no special assistance to install.
#10: Never leave lit candles unattended.
Almost half of home decoration fires are caused by traditional candles, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Make sure to keep lit candles in a safe place and away from children, pets, and flammable decorations and to always blow out whenever you leave the room.
#11: Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking.
Many decide to cook or bake during the holidays. It is important to not get distracted and to pay attention to avoid a fire. Unintended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires according to the National Fire Protection Association.
#12: If using a live tree, water it daily.
Dry trees are a serious fire hazard. Place your tree at least three feet away from all heat sources, including fireplaces, radiators and space heaters. It is also important to buy the freshest tree you can. When you buy a fresh tree, you should make sure it is green and have needles that are hard to pull out and should bend instead of break. The bottom of the tree should be cut at a 45 degree angle and placed in water so it remains fresh through the season.
One-third of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems and every year the fire departments respond to roughly 260 structure fire that start with Christmas trees.
Transworld Electric wishes all of our customers a wonderful and safe holiday season. If you ever have any electrical questions or concerns about the safety of your Christmas decorations, our licensed electricians are here to help with the answers and experience you need.