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Guest Post: Electrical Safety At Christmas

Posted by Ken Flournoy on Dec 12, 2016 8:00:00 AM

We here at Ken's Plumbing can keep your toilets flushing, drains flowing, and water heater hot, but we aren't much help when it comes to the electrical problems you may encounter. To help you understand one of the most common electrical problems faced by a home or business, enjoy this guest article from our sister company Hot Wire Electric in Greenville, South Carolina.

christmas-tree.jpgNow that the holiday season is here, you're probably well into your planning for Christmas Day festivities, right—finalizing the dinner menu, getting the drink mixes, wrapping the last of the gifts, and making sure all of your decorations are still glowing at night when you turn them on! Christmas is a fun and festive time of the year, but, unfortunately, a few innocent—yet easily avoidable—oversights have made the holiday season a nightmare for families across the US in years past.

Make sure your holiday is merry and bright by staying safe this Christmas with our 10 tips for electrical safety:

1. Don't Overload Electrical Outlets

Outlets overloaded with strand upon strand of lights are one of the most common causes of fires during the holiday season. Avoid a fire by only plugging in one high-wattage appliance into each outlet (especially if you're going all out with your exterior decorations).
  • Tip: Get a licensed electrician to make sure all outlets are working properly before you start decorating!

2. Use Battery Operated Candles

Unless you're only decorating with candles in areas that will have an attendee at all times, try to use battery-operated candles everywhere. Almost half of home fires are caused by traditional candles, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

If you do use real candles...

  • Keep candles burning within sight
  • Place candles away from combustible materials, such as wrapping paper or other decorations
  • Don't place candles where they can easily be bumped and knocked over. Safe places for candles include high countertops away from children, flat surfaces such as an island, coffee tables, etc
  • NEVER use lighted candles on a tree or near any other greenery
  • Never leave your children unattended where candles are burning.

3. Keep Surge Protectors & Cords Out Of Sight

  • All electrical cords should be protected from any future damages
  • Don't place extension cords where they could cause peopleto trip
  • Avoid mounting the sure protector in a way that could damage the cord's insulation
  • Never place cords in areas near furniture or under rugs as this can cause fire or shock hazards

4. Turn Off All Decorations At Night

The National Fire Protection Association recorded that half of home fire deaths occur between 11p.m. and 7a.m. Most people will be asleep during that time and won't be able to enjoy your lights anyway, so be sure to turn off and unplug ALL decorations when before leaving the house going to sleep. Also, make sure all every electrical cord or outlet you're using outside is outside is covered to protect them against the weather.

5. Indoor vs. Outdoor Lighting

NEVER use indoor lighting outdoors. Retailers sell exterior lights that are specifically designed to handle inclement weather, whereas interior lights aren't capable of handling such harsh conditions. If you use interior lights outdoors, they could be damaged by snow or rain, or even start a fire that could have easily been avoided.
  • Tip: UL-listed lights are the best to purchase. The green holographic UL light will remind you they are indoor lights only, while a red holographic indicates the lights are good for both indoor and outdoor use!

6. Do's and Don'ts of Christmas Trees

Live Christmas Trees

  • Keep it fresh by watering it daily as dry trees are a fire hazard
  • Use non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to decorate the tree
  • Cut 1-2 inches from the base of the trunk immediately before placing the tree in the stand to ensure water absorption
Artificial Christmas Trees
  • Before purchasing, make sure the label says, "Fire Resistant"
  • Dot use electrical ornaments or light strings on artificial trees with metallic leaves or branch coverings
  • Place your tree at least three feet away from all heat sources, including fireplaces, radiators and space heaters

7. Stay In Your Kitchen While Cooking

  • Unattended cooking equipment is one of the leading causes of house fires
  • Use the back burners on the cooktop whenever possible
  • Make sure all children are at least 3 feet away from cooking appliances, or are in another room to keep them away from hot appliances or sharp cooking utencils
  • When the meal is ready, make sure all your appliances are turned off and no pot holders or kitchen cloths were accidentally thrown on still-hot stovetops

8. Know Where Your Smoke Detectors & Fire Extinguishers Are

  • Be sure you always have a working fire extinguisher on hand, and keep it easily accessible in the event of an unexpected fire
  • Make sure all smoke alarms throughout your home are working properly, especially in your kitchen and bedrooms.

9. Use Caution When Hanging Lights

  • Use safe ladder practices when hanging Christmas lights both indoors and outdoors
  • When hanging lights, don't pierce the cords with staples or nails
  • Don't wrap lights around hot electrical appliances such as televisions, heaters, or vents
  • Our main rule: never hang lights alone!

10. Read Instructions for All Electronic Toys

  • Read the manufacturer's instructions and warning labels before purchasing any toys
  • If gifts require batteries, use the same caution as you would with any other small item. Many batteries pose choking risks if children are able to open the battery covers and are too young to understand the dangers
  • Supervise children while they play with their toys; they'll enjoy the gifts, and you can relax knowing they're safe!

Hot Wire Electric focuses on quality and value, and we believe we offer the highest level of service available to our customers in Greenville, SC.

If you need us to come check electrical appliances, wires, outlets, and circuit breakers in your home, give us a call today at (864)-679-4444 or contact us online by clicking the banner below and we'll be glad to stop by! We wish everyone in the Upstate area a fun, happy, and safe Christmas season here from Hot Wire Electric!

electricians greenville sc

Topics: Electrical