Putting up indoor and outdoor lights is a popular tradition this time of year. People all over Hampton Roads decorate for the holidays, setting out figurines in their yards and hanging strings of lights on their porches and rooftops. While pretty to look at, they can also cause electrical problems that will prompt you to call a Hampton Roads electrician for help when the lights go out. Here are a few tips to consider when putting up interior and exterior lights and decorations for the holiday season. If you must use extension cords outdoors, be sure to check the tag. Only use cords outside that are certified for outdoor use. They are not interchangeable with indoor extension cords. Avoid putting nails, thumbtacks or staples through the electrical cords.
Retire light strings that are old, cracked or have punctures. If you can’t recall when you bought your holiday lights, it’s probably time for a new set. Remember that electrical outlets have a limit on how much current they can support. A few strings of lights per outlet on the circuit is typically supported. Check the packaging on your holiday lighting for details. When connecting indoor lights and decorations to your electrical outlets, be sure to use a surge protector. This will prevent a blowout should the current fluctuate.
To reduce the costs of holiday electrical bills, consider using energy-efficient products. LED bulbs and lighting are cost efficient options. Don’t use unprotected outdoor outlets during inclement weather.
Overloading electrical circuits, whether indoors or out, can lead to a number of issues, including blown circuits, a power blackout throughout the home and even fires. Take the time to read the labeling and directions on the back of any decoration and lighting and don’t hesitate to turn off the lights when you’re not around to enjoy them.