According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical power bars, extension cords and lighting are involved in more than two of every five (44%) home fires during the holiday season.
The bottom line is this; whether you’re at home or away for the holidays, ensure everything electrical is properly checked and maintained. To prevent electrical fires and other hazards, we have provided some holiday electrical safety tips every homeowner should know.
How Often Do Extension Cords Need To Be Inspected?
Your extension cords should be inspected monthly, especially ones that you’ve used for outdoor holiday lighting.
Inspect for signs of overheating, which result in electrical fires. Overheating occurs due to overloading or connecting devices with a higher wattage consumption. Also, inspect for punctured cord insulation and loose or missing plug blades.
Dispose of any extension cords that you’ve stapled or nailed. Although you may not see any frayed wires, the staples or nails can puncture the insulation and result in shock or fire hazards.
Can I Leave My Christmas Tree Lights On All Night?
No, turn them off. If your Christmas lights are damaged or begin overheating, your tree can ignite and cause a house fire. Turning off all your electrical decorations and lighting before bed is always your safest bet.
Also, unplug all your holiday lighting and decorations. Not only are you preventing Christmas tree bonfires, but you’re also saving on electrical costs. Timer plugs or wi-fi connected plugs can be an alternative solution but usually, aren’t as cost-efficient as simply pulling the plug before bed.
To prevent your tree from catching fire, maintain your tree by trimming, watering, cleaning and locating it as far away from heat sources as possible. Or, skip all those tasks and purchase an artificial tree that’s non-flammable.
To ensure your Christmas lights are hazard-free, inspect them for any frayed wires, broken bulbs or loose connections.
How Much Do Christmas Lights Add To Electric Bills?
It all depends on how many strings of lights and decorations you install, as well as how long you keep them lit up. We can’t give an exact estimate, but you can gauge their contribution from previous holiday electric bills.
If you want to lessen how much your Christmas lights add to your bill, turn off all your decorations and lights before bed. If you think you’re over-decorating, evaluate which decorations or lights you may not need anymore.
Don’t leave your holiday decorations up for too long. Begin to decorate at the end of November and take them down by the beginning of January. There is no need to keep your house looking like a Christmas village all the way to March Break.
But if Christmas lasts all-year-round for you, selecting the right type of lighting can save you the most on your electricity bill.
According to the Department of Energy, it costs approximately $0.36 to light a 6-foot Christmas tree with holiday LED light strands for 12 hours-a-day for 40 days, while incandescents run you approximately $13.
Contrary to other classifications of lights, LED Christmas lights are the most efficient. LED holiday lights consume 70% less energy than conventional incandescent lights. They’re also more durable (no more fragile glass bulbs) and last longer too!
What Happens If You String Too Many Christmas Lights Together?
Thankfully, nothing too serious. Most holiday lights contain a fuse in the plug that blows out when you string too many Christmas lights together. If an entire string refuses to light up the first thing to check is for a fuse at the male plug end. The fuse will keep the lights from causing severe damage from shorts or overloading. The only issue is you’ll need to add a fuse or two to your gift list for Santa.
The main issue when stringing lights together is that you don’t exceed the maximum wattage capacity of the outlet. Once you exceed that wattage capacity, your home’s circuit breaker will trip or you will blow a fuse. This is usually only ever an issue when chaining dozens of Christmas light strings on the exterior of your home and plugging into a single outdoor plug.
One plug may have a shared circuit with your garage, other lights and plugs in your home. Everything seems to work great until that small heater in your garage kicks on and the light show quits. Make an effort to find an outlet that doesn’t share any other circuits in your home.
Now, the best alternative we have found is simply choosing LED holiday lights. Since they require little wattage per string, you’re able to plug over 80 strings of LED lights together without worrying about exceeding the maximum wattage of a standard household outlet.
Is An Overloaded Circuit Dangerous?
Yes, overloading circuits can be extremely dangerous. Overloading a circuit means you’re drawing more electricity than the rated capacity of that circuit. Overloading can result in fires, overheating and the burnout of parts.
Avoid overloading your electrical outlets with extension cords, lighting and decorations. Instead, spread your decorations out to various circuits around your home rather than focusing them in one location.
Trust Sun Solar & Electrical
We want everyone to be safe for the holidays. If you’re not sure about your electrical setup and its safety, choose Sun Solar & Electrical. Our residential electrical services provide quality and secure holiday safety inspections, electrical repairs and troubleshooting. Receive a no-obligation quote today!