If you’re the type who loves to adorn your house for the holidays, may it be Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day, you want to make sure that everything you put is up to code. You want to make it fun for everyone without compromising their health or safety. When installed incorrectly, things like decorative lights, animatronics, fog machines, and strobe lights can cause electric shocks, short circuits, and fires. Here’s what you can do to avoid electrical horrors and create a nice ambiance without endangering people and property.
Do Not Cover Cords
Covering cords and wires will prevent the heat from dissipating. Resist the temptation of covering it with decorative rugs or other furniture pieces. When heat cannot escape, it can result in a raging electrical fire.
Stop Overloading Cords
When you decorate, you have a lot of plugs to deal with to power up the lights and other cute figurines. Resist the urge to overuse outlets and overload extension cords. This is a recipe for disaster. Read your holiday lighting sets and props manual to evaluate how many can be strung together without compromising safety. In general, three standard sets of lights can work with one outlet.
Be Careful of Material Mix Up
Be careful of your materials. Items designed for indoor use cannot be used for the great outdoors. These interior decorations cannot handle dampness and other environmental factors. Mixing it up can result in an electrical shock, especially since water is a conductor. Double-check to ensure that your exterior decors are certified for outdoor use. It will usually come with a certification in the packaging. Make sure this applies to your lights, animated displays, and extension cords. Most importantly, never run extension wires through water and snow, even if they are built for outdoor use.
Watch Out For Poorly Fastened Decor
You need to fasten outdoor lights and decorations securely to prevent damage. Remember, these decors are exposed to wind. For best results, electricians recommend using small insulated staples or hooks to support lights. Never use the uninsulated variants to secure light cords as they can damage the wiring and penetration insulation, resulting in electrocution or electrical fire. Most of all, don’t put your electric decors next to flammable materials as this could create a spark that can quickly escalate into a fire.
Take Note of of GFCIs
Is your home GFCI ready? This prevents shocks by cutting the power source on the receptacle. If your home is not up to code, it would be prudent to get an electrical inspection. Plugging outdoor lights and decors into outlets without GFCI protection is just an accident waiting to happen. Avoid this hazard by purchasing a portable GFCI. but if you want a more permanent solution, call your electrician.
Do Away With Decrepit Decor
Finally, before hanging up your decor, make sure they are not cracked, frayed, have loose connections, stripped wires, etc. Decorations with damage can result in a severe electrical shock or fire. Patching it up with electrical tape will give you a false sense of security. If you really want to save a sentimental piece, seek help from a professional to fix it. On top of that, make it a practice to store your holiday decors in proper packaging to avoid damage when not used. We service many cities in Alaska and Arizona. Check out our locations here: Anchorage, Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and Tucson.