As winter approaches, it is getting close to the time of year when everyone rushes to put up their Christmas lights before it starts to snow.
Christmas lights are one of the best parts of this cheery holiday, and, along with a Christmas tree, they are certainly one of the keys to bringing about the holiday spirit.
You may even find joy in competing with your neighbours to see who can do the best job lighting up their house inside and out. However, along with the joy and delight of Christmas lights also comes an increase in electricity usage.
Putting up Christmas lights means that your house and property will likely be filled with strands of wires in places where they would not normally be, which can be an electrical hazard. Some might even say this situation is a recipe for disaster, but it doesn’t need to be.
Although Christmas lights pose some challenges when it comes to electrical safety, there are still ways that you can hang them safely.
If you keep the following safety tips in mind while hanging up lights for the Christmas holiday this year, you will be able to enjoy them without having to worry about starting an electrical fire!
When installing Christmas lights this year, we suggest you follow these tips for your safety and that of your family.
It is crucial that you understand the circuitry within your home so you know what your outlets’ limitations are. Most receptacle units can handle somewhere between 15 and 20 amps. The rule of thumb is that you should never exceed 20 amps, but it is even safer to do your best to remain under 80% of the threshold.
Christmas lights and decorations should have maximum amperage ratings printed on them, so make sure you familiarize yourself with these, too, to avoid overloading your outlets.
If you are planning to hang up lights outside, always use outdoor extension cords since indoor ones are not heavy-duty enough.
Also, refrain from plugging in many cord connectors to the outlet. In such a situation, the weight of the connectors could potentially pull the plugs away from the outlet, exposing the contact terminals, which is a potential fire hazard.
It is also important to remember that longer cords cause electricity to encounter more resistance. That means that the maximum amount of amperage it can hold decreases the longer it is.
Therefore, if you are plugging in four 50-foot cords together, keep in mind that they will not be able to hold as much as if you were only using a single 50-foot cord.
Stringing too many lights together and plugging them into the wall can lead to a blown fuse.
Not only will that keep your lights from staying lit, but it will also be a fire hazard. Therefore, to avoid a Christmas disaster, you should run multiple cords from different areas, which will help you avoid blowing a fuse.
You should also avoid plugging your extension cords into outlets that are already being used by large appliances or other items.
You may be used to using standard Christmas lights, but did you know that using newer LED lights can actually save you money? It’s true! LED lights need far less electricity to glow.
One strand of 50 mini-standard lights typically requires about 20 watts, but one strand of 70 mini-LED lights only needs just under 5 watts.
Therefore, you can put up more lights and use less power if you decide to take the LED route. Plus, they shine just as bright or brighter than most standard bulbs!
Before putting up any lights or decorations, make sure that you thoroughly check everything to make sure it is in good condition. After all, you never know what could happen to them from one year to the next, especially after they have been sitting in a tangled pile for most of the year.
It is wise to plug in the lights to test if they work before you start hanging them.
Also, closely inspect each string of lights to see if there are any frays. Frayed wires can be a fire hazard. You should throw away any strings that look overly worn.
To avoid unnecessarily hiking up your electricity bill and to minimize safety risks, you should always turn off your Christmas lights when you leave the house. You should do the same before going to bed each night.
If you are worried that you will forget to do this, the best approach may be to set up an automatic timer that can be set to turn them off or on at specific times.
If you are uncertain whether your electrical system can handle the number of lights that you are planning to install, Hi-Lite Electric can help.
We will gladly send one of our experienced electricians to your house to conduct a home electrical inspection and safety check to make sure that you have no electrical hazards to worry about this holiday season.
During our 12-point safety check, we will help you detect and address any current problems with your electrical system, as well as any other potential issues that could cause future damage.
You may even want to upgrade your electrical system before putting up this year’s Christmas lights, and we can be of assistance with that too!
One of our skilled electricians can install a new circuit breaker in your home that is built to meet far greater safety standards than most outdated fuse panels.
We will set you up with a circuit breaker that will protect every device in your house with sensitive circuitry that responds quickly if there is a fault, eliminating the risk of danger.
Of course, if you run into an electrical emergency while you are setting up your Christmas lights and decorations, you can also call us 24/7 for emergency electrician services in Etobicoke and throughout the GTA.
Whether you need us day or night, we will send a licensed electrician to you as soon as possible to perform any kind of electric repair services that you need. And, as always, our services come with up-front pricing and 100% satisfaction guaranteed.
For more information about how we can help prevent electrical problems from occurring at your house, or to book an appointment for an electrical inspection and safety check before this holiday season, call High-Lite Electric Inc. at 416-800-5536 (in Toronto), 289-236-1333 (in York), or 289-236-1347 (in Peel), or contact us here.
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