How to Avoid Holiday Electrical Hazards

Holiday celebrations might look a little different this year, but holiday decorations—and electrical hazards—are the same as ever. In fact, if you’re making up for the lack of holiday parties by putting up some extra décor, it’s more important than ever to review these electrical safety tips.

Lights and electric decorations

Here’s how to avoid electrical safety hazards during the winter holidays in Raleigh, NC:

  • Inspect lights and cords carefully: Before you use any electrical décor, inspect the lights, bulbs, cords, plugs and more very carefully. If you see any cracks, exposed wires or other issues, return them to the store or dispose if they’re non-returnable. This is especially important if you’re using a real tree.
  • Only use outdoor-rated lights outside: Look to see if your lights are rated for outdoor use. That means they include features to protect from inclement weather, shocks and fire hazards.
  • Unplug lights when not in use: Unplug your holiday lights anytime they’re not in use, both indoors and out. Cutting the electrical supply makes it harder to suffer shocks or generate sparks.
  • Avoid metal ladders: When hanging lights outdoors, avoid using a metal ladder. They can increase the risk of electric shock. Instead, look for a thick plastic or fiberglass ladder.
  • Don’t overload extension cords: Most importantly, do not overload your extension cords or power strips. These tools are designed to handle a certain electrical load, and plugging in too many items can lead to fires and shocks.

Safely decorating your tree

Holiday decorating in Raleigh, NC comes with a number of electrical hazards, but Christmas trees can be flammable, too. Here’s how to make sure you pick the safest tree possible:

  • Get a younger tree: The older your tree is, the drier it gets. Before purchasing a tree, make sure that the needles are securely fastened to the branches—if they feel brittle or fall off, the tree has dried out. The tree trunk’s cut should be sticky to the touch.
  • Water daily: Make sure to water your tree daily, so it won’t dry out before the season is over. The drier it is, the more of a fire hazard it will become. This is especially important if you’re using lights.
  • Get a tree with thicker needles: Thicker needles, like those on a noble fir, take longer to dry out. Opt for that or a similar variety.
  • Get a flame-retardant artificial tree: If you opt for an artificial tree, get one that’s labeled “fire resistant” or “flame retardant.” If it’s pre-lit, inspect cords just as you would any other décor.
  • Keep trees away from fireplaces and candles: Always situate your tree well away from the fireplace and candles. It’s too easy for jumping flames to ignite the tree, or for someone to knock a candle over and start a fire.

For more information about electrical safety and how to avoid electrical hazards during the winter holidays in Raleigh, NC, talk to the friendly team at Box Electric Company today. Our electricians are happy to help you troubleshoot electrical problems and avoid hazards.