Advice & tips from Kelowna Electricians at Epic Electric
With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be easy to forget that decorations, lights, trees and even wrapped gifts can become hazardous. In fact, Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for firefighters. Everyone likes to decorate, but all the beautiful lights that you string across your home can also present a serious electrical hazard if you ignore the proper precautions. So before you flip the switch and bask in the warm glow of Christmas, make sure you follow our electrical safety guide to keep your family and your belonging safe this holiday season.
TIP #1 – INSPECTION TIME
Both your interior and exterior lights require careful inspection before you set them up. One of the most common causes of fires around the holidays is faulty string lightings. Therefore, in order to avoid any potential electrical fires, it’s important to carefully inspect all light strands, cords, and bulbs. If your lights show any signs of fraying or tearing, or have any signs of burn marks, do not attempt to fix them. Instead, throw these lights away and replace them with a newer, safer alternative.
TIP #2 – LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
If you’re setting up outdoor lights, then only use them outdoors. The same goes for indoor lights. It’s important to only use certain lights for their intended purpose, so always read the label. Outdoor lights have a different rating and may not be suited for indoor use due to their voltage or the amount of heat they produce.
TIP #3 – THE CORRECT OUTLET
Always use the correct outlet when setting up your lights. It’s essential to use a grounded outlet when putting up lights for the holidays, particularly for outdoor lights. This greatly reduces the risk of shorts and shocks in the wiring.
TIP #4 – MIND YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Always mind your surroundings and watch out for power lines when setting up your lights and holiday decorations. Contacting these high-voltage lines can lead to serious injury. Therefore, decorate only during daylight hours so it’s easy to see power lines and avoid touching them with your ladder or limbs. Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
TIP #5 – GO LED
Consider using LED lighting instead of traditional incandescent lights. LED light strings last longer, use less electricity and are also cooler than incandescent bulbs, meaning they may lessen the risk of fire and personal injury. In fact, an LED bulb use up to 90 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light.
TIP #6 – DON’T OVERLOAD
Never string together multiple extension cords or run them under rugs, carpets, or furniture. Never use damaged extensions cords and avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Use a power strip with a surge protector if you need to use multiple outlets. Be sure not to connect power strips to each other and overload electrical outlets, as this can lead to the outlet becoming overheated and starting a fire.
TIP #7 – THINK GFCI
Plug outdoor lights into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI or GFI) outlet or breaker. These monitor the flow of an electrical current in a circuit, and if there’s a disturbance the GFCI breaks the circuit and shuts off the energy flow. This keeps serious electric shocks from happening and prevents damage to your indoor electrical appliances.
TIP #8 – CONSERVE ENERGY
To save electricity and reduce your utility bills, turn off your holiday lights when not in use. Turn them off when you go to bed, and when you leave the house. Lights that are left on too long can overheat and potentially cause a fire.
TIP #9 – TIS THE (END OF THE) SEASON
Tis the season to be jolly, but every season must come to an end. Holiday decorations aren’t designed for year-round use and can deteriorate over time. Be safe and take them down when the holidays are over.
TIP #10 – HOME HEATING SAFETY
In addition to electrical safety, about one-third of home heating fires are caused by space heaters. Therefore, never leave a space heater unattended and turn it off when you leave the room, the house, or when you go to sleep. Plug space heaters directly into electrical outlets. Do not use extension cords and keep portable space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can catch fire, including furniture, bedding, and holiday decorations.
For more great tips and information on all things electrical, read Epic Electric’s blog. At Epic Electric we offer a complete electrical service with a Class A unrestricted licence and over 15 years experience in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. We have the experience and the skills to get any electrical job done safely, speedily, and efficiently. Settle for nothing less than epic this holiday season and contact us anytime; we are available 24/7. (250) 859-5195