The holiday tunes are filling the air, the shopping lists are growing, and plans are going in place. It sounds like the holiday season is in full swing, so keep the ABCs of electrical safety during the holidays in mind.
Assess your decorations before plugging them in.
Most people keep their holiday decorations for many years. They pull them from the attic or storage annually to commence the holiday tradition of untangling, checking for dead bulbs, and arranging. Before you trust any of those annual electric decorations, make sure you thoroughly assess them for damage. Check for damaged wiring, open circuits, and any signs of melted plastic you may have not caught the year before. If anything looks damaged, go ahead and toss it and get some replacements.
Battery-operated decorations are sometimes safer.
Many people avoid buying battery-operated holiday decorations because of the inconvenience of replacing batteries. Battery-operated items have come a long way from what they used to be. Many holiday decorations with LED bulbs that use very little energy, so they can actually run off batteries for several hours. In some cases, it is safer to opt for battery-powered decorations, especially if your outlets are already overloaded or if you will have to rely on a series of extension cords to power everything.
Check all decorations for a UL certification label.
Electrical devices should be tested for safety by Underwriter Laboratories (UL) before they are sold to consumers. If you are not finding one of these labels on one of your holiday decorations, it may not have been properly tested before it was sold to you, and this in itself could pose an electrical safety risk for your home. Other countries have similar testing policies, but the labels may be marked with different organizations, such as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
Don't leave electrical decorations on unattended.
Those gorgeous twinkling decorations sure are pretty in the dark, and it is so pleasing to see your house all lit up from afar. But it is really never a good idea to leave your electrical holiday lights on when they will not be attended. Even with all the efforts to make sure your home is safe, it is all too easy to miss something like a simple frayed wire. If you are not at home or in the bed, a small issue could be a house fire in a matter of minutes.
If you find that an outlet, fuse, or other component of your holiday display needs attention, contact a local professional for electrical repair service.