Hello again! How quickly we’ve found ourselves at the end of the year. Wasn’t it yesterday that we were cleaning out our garden beds and prepping for another outdoor season? It seems like December and the holidays sneak up on us every year. Suddenly we’re reminded of all the changes or improvements we were going to make to our decorations this year but forgot immediately when we packed them away. Instead, we decorate our homes with lights that might be older than we care to admit, or we make shortcuts that we know aren’t the safest. We convince ourselves that we won’t be in that unfortunate percentage of people who experience fires started by overloaded outlets or faulty wiring. Surely that sparking outlet in the movie “A Christmas Story” was an exaggeration, right? Instead of winging it and hoping for the best, I have a few simple suggestions to help keep your home safe and lit this holiday season.
Without fail, we have customers coming in looking for double male end extension cords every year, and every year, we have to tell them that these cords are always a bad idea. When plugged into an outlet or generator, the double male end poses a significant risk of serious shock or electrocution, fire, or carbon monoxide poisoning. Instead, take a few minutes to map out anything that will need electricity, and where you plan to plug it in. Planning ahead will also help prevent overloading your extension cords. Unless you’re using all LED light strands, the maximum number of light strands you can safely put on one extension cord is three. Otherwise, you run the risk of overheating the extension cord which can start a fire.
I know this sounds obvious but only decorate outside with lights that have been rated for outside use. Lights created for outdoor use are designed to handle all the potential inclement weather, while indoor lights are not. This is the same for extension cords. Make sure that any connections are off the ground, too. Just put a rock or brick under the connections to keep dirt and water out of these pieces so no electrical shorts happen. Don’t use nails or screws to secure your lights. Depending on how you want to decorate, zip ties or insulated hooks are much safer options that won’t ruin the integrity of the wiring, or leave holes where you don’t want them!
Probably the most important tip I have for you is this: pay attention. Don’t walk away from burning candles. Don’t leave your Christmas lights on, especially on a live tree, when you’re asleep or away from home. Don’t leave cooking food unattended. We know as well as anybody that fires can happen when you least expect it. We don’t want anyone to experience the devastation of a fire, especially one that could’ve been prevented.
We hope that everyone has a safe and warm holiday season. From our family to yours, Happy Holidays.