Home electrical safety may not be the most festive topic, but it’s an important consideration before pulling out the holiday decorations. Knowing what holiday electrical hazards are most common during the season, you can prevent unnecessary problems and help to keep your family safe. Here are the top 10 causes of electrical shock, fires, and other issues during the holidays:
1.) Using the wrong type of lights
Indoor holiday lights are not always waterproof or safe to use outside. Outdoor lights sometimes burn hot, causing fire risk to your Christmas tree. Always check the box of any lights and decorations you plan to use.
2.) Using counterfeit or unsafe products
Your decorations should be marked with a certification such as the Underwriters Association (UL). Be wary of foreign-made decorations that do not bear compliance marks.
3.) Using damaged extension cords
Before plugging in any holiday electronics, be sure to check that your extension cords are in good repair. Visible wiring or frayed casing can lead to electrical hazards.
4.) Overloading outlets
When you have multiple decorations or devices plugged into a single outlet, you risk a chance of overloading the outlet. This can lead to fire, electrical outage and other problems. Try to space out your decorations so that they draw power from multiple different outlets in the home, and only use power strips that are new and in good repair.
5.) Leaving lights on all the time
It’s a good idea to run your lights only when someone is home and awake to monitor them. That way, if any problems happen, they can be dealt with swiftly before fire has a chance to spread. Never sleep with your Christmas tree lit.
6.) Using old or damaged decorations
It’s best to save non-electrical ornaments for family heirlooms. Be prepared to replace your Christmas lights every 4-6 years. Also be sure to inspect your decorations thoroughly before use. Throw out any with exposed wiring or other signs of visible damage.
7.) Using out-of-date lighting technology
Even if your older lights are still in good working order, they may be inefficient and more susceptible to causing electrical issues. Most older lights use incandescent bulbs, which burn hot and can cause a fire when clustered on a dry tree or near drapes, wrapped gifts and other flammable objects. LED bulbs are cool to the touch, have a longer lifespan and are less likely to start a fire.
8.) Connecting too many cords
You should avoid stringing more than three strands of lights together end-to-end. Otherwise, you run the risk of sending too much current through the wire, leading to potential fire hazards and blown fuses.
9.) Allowing cords to get damaged
If you have pets or children, keeping all electrical cords and plugs away from curious fingers and mouths is important. It’s also important that your cords not be pinched by furniture, closed windows or other possible hazards.
10.) Damaging strings of lights when mounting
For safety, the insulation of your cords and light strings needs to remain intact. Avoid using thumbtacks or staples if they will pierce the cord. Instead, drape lights over hooks or place staples across, rather than through, the cord.
If you need help with assessing your home’s holiday electrical hazards or would like to consult with an expert about keeping your family safe, contact Mister Sparky today for more information!