Holiday Lighting and Decorating Safety Tips from American Mechanical
The holiday season is here, and with Thanksgiving coming to an end, homeowners across America and Virginia Beach will be trading in their carving knives for holiday lights. But, if hung incorrectly, holiday lighting can cause personal injury; like electrocution, burns, or even death, and property loss (most often caused by electrical fires).
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments in the U.S. responded, on average, to 230 home structure fires caused by Christmas trees between 2007 and 2011, and an average of 150 home structure fires caused by holiday lighting within the same time period.
Keep reading to learn how you can avoid personal injury and property loss with these holiday lighting safety tips from American Mechanical.
Do Test Each Light Strand Before Use
Before hanging your lights, be sure to individually test each strand by plugging it into an indoor outlet. Doing so will not only minimize the need to change light strands after being hung, but also provides an indicator as to whether or not you should replace your lights. If your holiday lights emit heat while turned on, it may be time for an upgrade.
Do Use LED Lights
LED lights, or Light Emitting Diodes, are up to 10 percent more energy efficient than traditional, incandescent holiday lights. When you decorate the indoor and outdoor of your home with LED lighting, you are reducing your overall energy consumption and lowering utility bills!
Do Check Your Light Strands for Cracked Cords, Frayed Ends & Loose Connections
Thoroughly check your strand of lights for any cracks in the wiring, frayed ends, and/or loose connections. Hanging lights with any of these issues increases the chances of your light strand short circuiting and/or causing a home structure fire.
Do Upgrade Your Lights Every Three to Five Years
Just like with any other piece of electrical equipment, the technology used to make holiday lights and decorations is constantly evolving. It is important to upgrade your lights and decorations every three to five years to ensure your are using the most energy efficient technology.
Do Use the Proper Extension Cord
Did you know there are different types of extension cords? When using an extension cord to power your holiday lighting, it is recommended to use a 16-gauge cord if running a distance of less than 25 feet. For lighting spanning more than 25 feet, a 14-gauge extension cord is recommended for use.
We also recommend purchasing separate extension cords for indoor and outdoor use. Look for a W on the packaging of your extension cord to mark it safe for outdoor use.
Do Insulate & Elevate Your Extension Cords
By covering or insulating your outdoor extension cords you are minimizing any future risk of electrical shock and reducing the chances of any damage to your extension cord caused by wintry weather. After insulating, elevate your extension cords off the ground to prevent tripping and being covered by snow, ice, dirt, etc.
Do Store Holiday Lights In a Dark Place
When the holidays are over and it comes time to take down your decorations, be sure to store your holiday lights in a dark environment. If your holiday lights are exposed to light for long periods of time when not in use, the color of your bulb will fade and your holiday lights will not look as good as you might have hoped! Storing your holiday lights in a box is a simple solution to prevent fading bulbs.
From everyone at American Mechanical, have a safe holiday season!