With the last of this decent fall weather, we’re trying to make the most of warmer temperatures before it gets too cold to put up our holiday decorations! If you’re decorating for this winter like us, you’ll want to follow these essential tips to help with safety tips!
Read the Fine Print
When you’re getting ready to put up your lights, whether new or dug out from deep in your basement, you’ll want to double-check the details. Make sure that: the lights are UL-listed and approved for outdoor use, review the wattage and voltage information before replacing broken bulbs, unplug the lights before you replace them, and check the manufacturer’s instructions for the maximum number of strands that can be safely connected.
Always Use the Proper Extension Cords
If you’ve been keeping up with our blogs, you’ll know we’re big on extension cord safety! In this case, you want to make sure that you’re using the proper outdoor extension cord. These cords come with thicker insulation that withstands harsh outdoor elements like the cold and snow, so they’ll last all season long. The cheaper ones won’t offer this benefit and are more suited for plugging in your phones or laptops within the controlled environment of your home.
Only Plug Into Protected Outlets
Once you’ve mapped out which lights are plugging into what, you’ll want to make sure that the outlets you’re using are safe. These outlets are protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) and are usually placed wherever water or moisture may pose a danger and will trip and shut off the outlet if there is too much current being drawn. You may have some of these outlets outside, or you may have to feed a wire through a window or door.
If you’re in need of more protected outlets to really bring your decor to the next level, don’t hesitate to give us at Coffin Electric a call, and we’ll be happy to help. For your outdoor holiday decorations, make sure they are plugged into the proper GFCI outlet for the most safety and security.
Never Staple Lights to Your Home
While a staple gun might be an easy and convenient tool to help you attach your holiday decorations to your home, they are not the safest course of action. They pose a risk of piercing through or damaging the protection around the electrical wires of your decorations, which could cause a fire. Staples also often have smaller abrasions for better adhesions, and those burr-like spikes themselves could be enough to break through the soft plastic wires. It wouldn’t take much for all of those hundreds of volts to surge through the staple, causing it to heat up and melt, which could start a fire.
Use an Auto Timer
One of the most common reasons for electrical fires caused by our holiday decorations is overheating or overuse. More companies have been building cheaper components, leaving you with lower-quality products. These lights and decor don’t last as long as fixtures that use higher quality parts, so they’ll fail and give out after a while, which can potentially spark a fire.
With an automatic timer, you don’t have to break the bank getting expensive lights and decorations and you can limit the amount of time your festive display stays on. These devices are available at most big box or home improvement stores, and allow you to program your lights to turn on or off at a specific time. This way, you and your neighbors can enjoy the lights when you can see them, and they’ll turn off automatically when no one’s awake to look. You won’t have to worry about remembering if you shut them off or not, or get out of your comfy bed to go and unplug them. Plus, you can rest easy knowing you’re safer from overheated lights causing a fire.