An Electrician Talks About Holiday Lighting Safety
Jul 17 2019
Holiday lighting is a fun activity for many families. However, they must always first consider lighting safety. It is a good idea to consult an electrician because he or she might be able to suggest the proper equipment or even install the safest outlets. With an electrician's help, a family can have the joy of Christmas lights and stay safe from electrical shocks or fires.
The most basic component of lighting safety is using the proper equipment. Outlets should be able to handle the required load. Outdoor lights should always use a heavy-duty three-prong extension cord designed specifically for outdoor use. It should also be plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) A GFCI has sensors that can detect a dangerous change in current and then automatically shut off. Most new homes do have these. If not, an electrician can easily install them.
An electrician knows it is important to inspect all holiday lighting - outdoor or indoor. Check for things like broken bulbs, frayed wires, and broken sockets. Replace anything that is in less than perfect shape.
Outdoor lights face other hazards that do not affect indoor lights. First, use lights that are rated for outdoor use. To string up the lights make sure to use insulator holders or clips. Using tacks or nails is not a good idea because they can cause wearing on the cord. It is also possible that the lights will need to be covered during bad weather. Ask an electrician what are the best ways to cover outdoor lights to protect them from weather-related damage.
Outdoor holiday lighting also needs to be weather resistant. That is why traditional incandescent lights, which are prone to water damage, should not be used outdoors. LEDs are better because they are less likely to break. Solar lights are another option because they do not produce as much heat. That means breakage is less likely when coming into contact with water. Whatever the type, make sure the lights carry an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) tag. This shows that they have been tested for outdoor use.
Fire hazards are another concern for lighting safety. An electrician will have several great suggestions to prevent fire hazards. If you are using an artificial tree, make sure it is fireproof. Do not string too many strands together and avoid stringing them on metal branches. This can result in an electrical shock. Always make sure that all decorations are non-flammable and use mini-lights. These tend to burn cooler than larger lights. Finally, keep live trees well watered. This will cut down on the fire hazard from a spark.
By taking the proper precautions with lighting safety, families can create wonderful holiday displays. There are several things that need to be done to minimize risks. Using the right equipment and having an electrician install the right outlets are just some of the things. Pay close attention to possible hazards. Above all, always keep safety in mind throughout the holidays.
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