The holidays bring family and friends together, and are a time of thankfulness and generosity. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when it’s necessary to be vigilant and practical about electrical safety to avoid the danger of fire to our homes. The following holiday safety checklist will help to ensure a happy and safe holiday. If your home requires electrical services, contact a Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL. The following are the top 10 causes of house fires during the holiday season.
1. Water your Christmas tree daily
It’s essential to water a live tree daily. Irregular watering will result in the tree drying prematurely, and increasing the risk of fire hazard. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), one out of every forty Christmas tree related fires result in death. When decorating the tree, only use non-flammable or flame-resistant decorations.
In addition, the tree should be located at least three feet away from all heat sources such as a heater, fireplace, or other. One out of six fires in the home during the holidays is due to trees being located too closely to heat sources. Furthermore, heat increases the trees need for water and the potential for drying out. As a general guide, locate the tree as far from heat sources as possible.
If you require additional outlets to locate your tree in a safer location, give us a call for service from a licensed electrician in Huntsville, AL.
2. Use Battery Operated Candles
Candles are a favorite during the holiday season, and unfortunately, are responsible for half of all holiday decoration fires. The use of conventional candles requires extreme caution. Don’t use them near any combustible objects, including your tree. Locate them where they won’t be turned over, place them on non-flammable plate or tray. Furthermore, never leave unattended candles burning. Battery operated candles are a safer choice. However, ensure they are safety certified by UL or other safety labs.
3. Holiday Decorations and Fire Safety
Check the electrical decorations you plan to use and any new purchases this season for safety certifications such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). It’s best to avoid decorations that aren’t approved. The certification ensures the product was tested in a US laboratory, and is safer for your home.
4. Check Decorations for Damage or Wear
Inspect bulbs and replace any that are loose or damaged. Inspect for loose or damaged wires and cords, and discard if damage is present. Always follow the manufacturer’s use and wattage instructions printed on the decorations. Consider replacing light sets for live trees with LED lights. Not only will they save you on power use, they don’t heat up as conventional lights will, reducing the risk of fire.
5. Connecting Lights
The package instructions will instruct you as to how many light strands you can connect, if not don’t connect more than three strands. Connecting to many light strands poses the risk of blowing a fuse or starting a fire. As previously stated, LED lights use less energy and operate cooler than traditional incandescent lights. A Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL can provide electrical outlet installation for you.
6. Avoid Overloading Electrical Outlets
Overloaded electrical outlets are a common cause of house fires. The use of multi outlet strips, and extension cords is a common cause of overloaded circuits. Be aware of the amperage of electrical products in use and don’t overload the circuit. If you need additional outlets and/or circuits installed, a Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL can provide it for you.
7. Be Safe With Cords
Ensure furniture, windows, or doors don’t pinch extension cords. Locate them away from high traffic areas. Don’t use staples, or nails to secure the wires. Use a sturdy tape to secure the wires to the floor if necessary to reduce a tripping hazard. If you are relying on many extension cords, you probably need additional outlets installed. A Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL can provide the installation you need.
8. Don’t Leave Cooking Unsupervised
The top cause of house fires is unattended cooking. Keep a small fire extinguisher in the kitchen in the event of fire. In addition, ask a friend or relative to assist in maintaining a watchful eye. When guests begin to arrive, they can answer the door and put coats away, leaving you free to stay in the kitchen.
9. Don’t Leave Electrical Decorations on When Sleeping
Ensure all candles are out when unattended, including when you sleep. In addition, turn off or unplug all electrical decorations while you sleep. Your home and family will be safer, and you’ll save on the electric bill. A quality timer can turn outside decorations on and off for you. If you require additional exterior electrical outlets, a Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL can provide installation for you.
10. Don’t use Decorations near a Fire or Other Heat Source
As much as 50% of decoration fires are because they were too close to a heat source. Don’t decorate the fireplace if you intend to have a fire. Stocking on the mantle, live or artificial greenery and other decorations shouldn’t be used. Consider installing electric logs and use them without heat during the holiday season. A Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL can provide the electrical installation you need.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Save Lives
Remember to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly, and replace batteries every 6 months. Hardwired detectors have been proven to be more reliable, and to save lives. Contact us to schedule an electrician in Huntsville, AL to install detectors connected directly to your electrical system.
The holidays should be a happy time with visiting friends and family, lots of good food and cheerful decorations. By following our holiday safety checklist and the potential dangers of electrical shock or fire are significantly reduced. If you need electrical installation or electrical repair, contact a Mister Sparky electrician in Huntsville, AL today. We want to wish you and your loved ones a safe and wonderful Christmas!