Approximately 150 home fires occur every year because of electrical holiday lights. Using electricity wisely at the holidays can help you stay safe and avoid tragedy. The following tips will help.
Use Extension Cords Safely
Extension cords are often misused during the holiday season. Proper usage can help you avoid electrical problems.
- Choose the appropriate extension cords for your purposes. Indoor extension cords should be used for indoor purposes only, while outdoor extension cords should be used for exterior use only.
- Avoid pinching extension cords beneath furniture. Extension cords have a way of being stretched around the room and run beneath several pieces of furniture in order to reach their destination, so check all cords after decorating to ensure that they are not trapped or pinched beneath a leg of a table, shelf, or chair.
- Never daisy chain extension cords. Choose an extension cord that meets your needs without attaching it to another extension cord—if the cord you have isn't long enough, buy a longer cord at the store.
- Check the quality of the extension cord before using. Do not use any cords with exposed wires, deteriorating rubber, and other similar qualities.
Install GFCI Outlets Outside
GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. GFCI outlets are designed to detect imbalance between the electrical output and input in an outlet. If the flow of electricity becomes imbalanced, the outlet will shut down to prevent electrocution. GFCI outlets are very important in outdoor spaces because of the presence of moisture from rain and snow, which can conduct electricity, cause an imbalance in the circuit, and lead to electrocution. Using GFCI outlets in your yard can prevent you from becoming electrocuted when plugging things in outside.
Watch for Signs of Electrical Overload
Your home's electrical system can overload without your knowledge. Watch for these warning signs while using your holiday lights:
- Dimming lights. If your normal lights at home dim when the holiday lights are in use, this is a sign that your electrical system is stretched too thin.
- Hissing noises in outlets or when appliances are running. Listen for noises like hissing or popping when you turn on holiday lights in your home.
- Circuit breakers trip regularly. If your circuit breakers trip regularly, this is an indication that your home's electrical system is reaching its maximum capacity.
- Extension cords or wall outlets feel warm to the touch. Your electrical outlets and extension cords should be room temperature while in use.
If your home is showing signs of electrical overload, contact an experienced electrician, such as those found at Narducci Electric, in your area for electrical repair.