Nothing says that the holiday season has arrived in a community like houses decorated inside and out with twinkling lights.
While lights are easily available, festive and inexpensive, they also pose danger of fire due to electrical failure. This failure (including other instances besides decorative lights) causes more home fires than lit fireplaces. To ensure that your Ottawa home is safe due to your Christmas lights, call Ring Electric at (613) 299-8239!
Follow these tips for a worry-free holiday:
- Check the label when you purchase lights to make sure your lights are approved for outdoor use: Indoor lights are not made to withstand winter weather
- Inspect each set of lights: Whether they are old or new, lights could be damaged. Throw away any set with cracked or broken sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
- Replace burned out bulbs promptly with bulbs of the same wattage.
Simple precautions will help keep you safe and healthy when you’re using a ladder to prepare the house for winter or put up holiday decorations, experts say. Between 2000 and 2003, an estimated 17,500 people were treated in U.S. emergency departments for holiday decorating-related falls, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. About 43% of those injuries were caused by falls from ladders.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers the following ladder safety tips:
- Set the ladder on a firm, level surface. Never place it in soft, muddy spots or on uneven ground or flooring.
- Keep the bottom of the ladder one foot away from the wall for every four feet of height.
- Use the proper ladder for the job. When working at low or medium heights, use step stools or utility ladders. Extension ladders are good for use outdoors to reach high places.
- When standing on a ladder, be careful when pushing or pulling items from shelves or handling materials such as holiday lights and decorations. Always position the ladder close to the work area to reduce the risk of losing your balance and falling.
- Never use a stepladder’s top or pail shelf as a seat. These aren’t designed to hold your weight.
Along with energy efficiency, safety is another factor to consider when using holiday lighting.
Here are some tips:
- Take a few minutes to check light sets for frayed wires, damaged sockets, broken plugs or cracked or missing insulation. Throw away any lights that are damaged.
- Make sure that holiday lights carry the seal of approval from a recognized safety-testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Install or adjust outdoor electrical displays only during dry weather.
- Outdoor displays require outdoor-rated extension cords, fixtures, cords and bulbs.
- When hanging lights around your roofline or in trees, be sure to survey the area for overhead power lines and maintain at least a 10-foot distance.
- Keep all electrical connections off the ground and hang sockets downward to prevent water from seeping into them.
- Do not use more than three sets of standard lights on each extension cord. Do not run electrical cords through door or window openings where they can be damaged.
- For added protection, plug outdoor lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters.
- Do not use more than three sets of standard lights on each extension cord.
- Keep lights away from carpeting, furniture and drapes.
- Turn off decorative lights before you go to bed or leave home.
- Avoid running cords under rugs, through doorways, or near furniture where they may be stepped on, tripped over or broken.
- Do not place cords around or near metal pipes, appliances or anything that is damp or metallic.
- Turn off electrical devices when making adjustments. And always make sure household smoke detectors are working properly.