Charlie’s Holiday Electrical Safety Tips

Holiday Safety Tips

Follow Charlie’s holiday safety tips to ensure a safe holiday season with your friends and family.

1. Only Buy Certified Decorations

Ensure all your lights and decorations are ESA approved. The certification is found on the packaging or attached to the electrical cord. When purchasing lights and decorations, shop at a trusted retailer to ensure the quality and safety of the product. Go over this list of recognised ESA certification marks to ensure your decorations are safe.

2. Discard Dangerous Frayed Lights & Wires

Dispose of any lights and wires that are frayed, broken or bare. Frayed lights and wires are both dangerous electrical and fire hazards. Don’t attempt to cover frayed wiring with tape; this isn’t a safe solution.

3. Use Outdoor Lights Outdoors & Indoor Lights Indoors

Don’t mix and match your outdoor lights with your indoor lights. Outdoor lights are manufactured to withstand cold temperatures and wet conditions, while indoor lights aren’t sealed to handle wet conditions.

4. Keep Your Smoke Alarms Installed & Tested

With the possibility of an electrical fire, you must install and test your smoke alarm. Dust can potentially clog your smoke alarm, so carefully clean with a duster brush every 6 months. Replace your smoke alarm if it’s older than 10 years.

5. Safely Connect Outdoor Lights

All outdoor lights should be plugged into a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet. This outlet is designed to break the circuit when there’s an imbalance of incoming and outgoing currents, or an unintended flow is detected. If you don’t have any GFCIs, get a certified electrician to perform the install.

Ensure all lights and outlets are in safe locations. You want to avoid wet areas vulnerable to water or ice. Keep lights and wires away from walkways or driveways to avoid tripping hazards.

Ensure that your outdoor lights are secure. Using insulated staples (not nails or tack) will securely hold your lights and protect them from wind damage.

When stringing your lights, please look out for power lines. They can turn your latter into a shocking hazard.

6. Unplug Lights Before Bed or Leaving Home

Not only are you running up your electric bill, but you’re putting your home at risk of a fire. The lights can overheat, short out and catch fire to your tree or decorations.

Don’t use water if a fire occurs. Water and electricity aren’t the best of friends. Small fires are best dealt with by shutting off the circuit, smothering it, or using a fire extinguisher. For severe fires, evacuate and call 911.

7. Don’t Overload Outlets

Overloading your outlet can result in a fire. Plugging in too many lights and decorations will draw too much power, causing the outlet to overheat and catch fire. The packaging should display how much power your lights use.

This rule goes for extension cords, as well. Don’t use more than three standard-size sets of lights per extension cord. Also, don’t cover your extension cords with a rug; this can cause a fire. 

8. Call A Licensed Electrical Contractor For Electrical Work

Don’t do the work on your own. If you’re experiencing a complicated electrical situation, hire a licensed electrical contractor. They’ll inspect, assess, maintain and make any installs you may need to ensure a safe and joyous holiday.