The holiday season is a time for family, food, and making memories, but it is also a time for house fires and other mishaps. Use these six electrical safety tips to help the whole family enjoy a safe holiday season.
1. Don’t Overload Circuits and Outlets
Electrical circuit overloads occur when you have too many items plugged into a single outlet. As a result, house fires and other devastating mishaps can occur. To prevent house fires and other damage, limit the number of extension cords you use and the items you keep plugged in simultaneously.
2. Check Holiday Lights
Before you start stringing holiday lights, check them to make sure none of the lights are broken or damaged. Place the lights on a non-flammable surface and plug them in for at least 15 minutes to make sure they don’t start malfunctioning, melting, or smoking. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to avoid problems with the lights overheating and possibly causing a fire. Holiday lights that are intended for indoor use should not be used outdoors because they are not waterproof.
You should never use tacks, nails, or staples to hang holiday lights. Instead, use insulated clip hangers to avoid damaging your home and the lights. Do not leave your holiday lights on while you’re sleeping or away from home.
3. Take Care of the Tree
If you’re getting a tree for the holidays, whether it’s real or artificial, you need to care for it properly. If you have a real tree, water it daily to ensure it doesn’t dry out. If you have an artificial tree, make sure it’s flame-resistant. You also need to pay attention to how closely you string the lights together around the tree.
4. Practice Kitchen Safety
The kitchen is where most house fires start. To prevent a fire, keep your cooking area clean and free of grease. Remove pot holders, towels, and similar combustible items from around or on the stove.
You should never plug in multiple high-wattage appliances into a single outlet. The outlets located near your sink should be equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) that automatically shuts off power at the outlet when an electrical fault is detected.
5. Use Extension Cords Sparingly
Use extension cords sparingly throughout your home. You should avoid running extension cords long distances, and never plug one extension cord into another to make the cord longer. Extension cords should never be placed under rugs or near doorways. The temperature during the winter holidays in Rochester, MN, can drop well below freezing. If you’re using a space heater, always plug it into a wall outlet and not an extension cord.
6. Use Appropriate Items for Outdoor Decorations
If outdoor decorations require extension cords, you should only use lights that are Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approved. Lights that are UL-approved will have the label on the box. Never use more than three sets of lights per extension cord.
Here at Paxton Electric, we specialize in residential, commercial, and industrial electrical services. We look forward to helping you keep your home or business safe year-round. Contact us today and let us know how we can help.