There’s nothing more festive than strings of lights, sparkly decorations and the company of friends and family during the holidays. But unfortunately, embellishing your home or business can come with the increased risk of an electrical fire. Luckily, new technology is making it far more safer to enjoy seasonal festivities with your loved ones.
There are numerous benefits to LED lights, but during the holidays may just be when their usefulness shines brightest. We at A-Star Electric would not recommend anything else for lighting your Calgary home or business. Not only do they last more than 40 times longer than incandescent bulbs, they also use up to 90% less power. LED lights also work well in extremely cold temperatures, making them ideal for the exterior of your home or business. LED lights also generate far less heat, which makes them the safest option for Christmas trees and garlands. Before purchasing any sort of illuminated holiday decoration, make sure it uses an LED bulb.
Correct Handling of Holiday Electrical Lighting and Cords
Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before hanging any strings of lights. Check to make sure there is a CSA tag or approval marking somewhere on the box or product, and ensure the packaging has not been tampered with before purchasing.
- Before beginning hanging, make sure all the bulbs work. Always unplug your lights before replacing a bulb. Never leave a socket empty, as they are very tempting for children to stick their fingers into.
- Always use the proper bulb for the light strand.
- Make sure to only use weather-resistant exterior lights and extension cords outdoors. Keep connections off the ground.
- Inspect each cord for fraying, cracks or exposed wires. These can spark and start a fire.
- Never directly staple lighting cords to a wall or side of the house. Use hooks or hangers (there are insulated varieties available for outdoors). Several varieties of string lights will also come with the appropriate hanging devices sold with them.
- If decorating a tree, use clips to keep bulbs standing up so that they are not in direct contact with the branches and needles.
- Turn off decorative lights before leaving a room.
- Always remove your outdoor lights (do not leave them up all year round) and store them properly. It’s a good idea to have them down within 90 days of putting them up.
- The general rule of thumb is never string together more than three light strands at a time. Another tip is to plug strands together before hanging them. This saves climbing up and down a ladder numerous times.
Proper Use of Outlets
It can be very tempting to overload your outlets with plugs and extension cords, but this is the quickest way you can overload a circuit. All you need to do is plug in one more thing in another room, or turn on the kettle to make hot chocolate, and suddenly you will be immersed in darkness. With a properly working home electrical system, this is not a problem, in fact, it’s a sign your electrical panel is working properly. A “blown circuit” means that the overcurrent detection device in your panel has sensed the overload and shut off your power before damage occurs. Get to know how your electrical panel works so you can help mitigate incidences like these.
In an older building with faulty wiring, however, an overloaded circuit can cause an electrical fire, which is definitely something you don’t want during the holidays. Never plug in more than two cords into an outlet and be aware of the amount of power each appliance or lighting fixture needs and how much each outlet can safely handle.
If you don’t have enough outlets, you can contact a Calgary electrician like those at A-Star to have some added. We will also have a look at your electrical panel to make sure you aren’t in need of an upgrade. An upgrade will provide additional power where it is needed in your home or business.
Battery-operated holiday decorations greatly reduce the chances of an overloaded circuit and a fire. Fake candles look surprisingly real, and are far more safe.
Choose A-Star for Your Residential and Commercial Electrical Service
Have a happy holiday from A-Star!