Fire hazards and electrical problems can make the holiday season one of the most dangerous times of the year for Magic Valley residents. The number of electrical accidents increases all over the United States during the holiday season. A lot of it has to do with faulty electrical products that are purchased. Others have to do with negligence in the use of Christmas lights or other electric apparatuses during the holiday season. Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken to avoid electrical danger this holiday season.
Address Damage Lights and Cords
Damaged and exposed electrical connections set the stage for electrical accidents during the holidays. It’s recommended that you review your home for any damage to cords or lights. Replace them as quickly as possible, contacting a professional electrician when necessary.
Christmas Tree Dangers
Purchasing a Christmas tree is a major holiday tradition in North America. Out of concern for the environment, many people have opted to purchase an artificial tree. When purchasing an artificial tree, it is best to purchase one that is flame-retardant. A flame-retardant tree doesn’t stop fire. However, it is designed to resist burning. Flame-retardant artificial trees burn more slowly and are easier to put out with an extinguisher if they do catch fire.
If you opt to purchase a live tree, go for one that is not dry. The best way to prevent a live tree from being a fire hazard is to keep it watered and set it up at least two yards away from open heat sources like space heaters or fireplaces. Dry trees pose a serious fire hazard and should be avoided.
The National Fire Protection Agency reports that Christmas lights cause over 700 fires every year. Electrical faults are the primary cause of these fires. Whether Christmas lights are located indoors or outdoors, they pose an equal risk of causing fires. To prevent fires caused by Christmas lights, you must understand how these electrical fires occur.
Electrical fires, including those involving Christmas lights, result from short circuits in the electrical network. Faulty wiring generates excess heat as the electrical current travels through the wiring, leading to sparks and, eventually, fires.
To prevent these fires, thoroughly inspect the wiring before plugging in your lights. This is especially crucial if you’re using older Christmas lights that have been tangled up in storage for most of the year.
When examining Christmas lights, look for melted spots or wire breaks. Exposed wires or loose connections are warning signs. If you observe any of these issues with your Christmas lights, replace the strands instead of using them.
The same principles apply to extension cords used for Christmas decorations. Ensure their safety by inspecting them before use.
Damaged or faulty outlets can also cause electrical fires. Look for excessive heat, sparks, discoloration, or smoke as warning signs. If you notice any of these signs around an outlet, cut the power from the breaker and have an electrician examine it before use.
If you’re using a real tree and watering it, unplug the string of lights. Electricity and wet conditions are a dangerous combination, so avoid taking any risks.
Prevent overloading electrical outlets. Avoid plugging multiple high-wattage items into a single outlet and connecting more than three strings of lights together. Don’t overload extension cords with too many lights. Make sure you stay within the intended wattage for the cord.
Avoid running cords under carpets or furniture, as pinching the cords near doors, windows, or high-traffic areas can damage them and create a fire hazard.
When using extension cords for outdoor decorations, don’t leave them on the ground where water can get into the connections and cause electrical hazards. Elevate the connections using rocks or bricks. Using ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) can also enhance the safety of outdoor electrical connections by preventing electrical shorts caused by water.
Don’t leave lights unattended. If you’re going to be away, ensure that the lights are switched off. You can use a timer to automatically turn off the lights when nobody is at home or during sleep hours.
Lastly, store all of your lights properly after the holiday season. Place them in a waterproof, pest-proof container in the basement or attic. Avoid tangling up the lights, as tangles can damage the wires over time, potentially creating a fire hazard when you use them the following year.
It’s important to childproof the plugs in your home during the holiday season. Since children are naturally curious, it only takes a second to stick something into an electrical socket. Taking on the inexpensive task of installing tamperproof outlets can go a long way toward preventing electrical tragedies in the home.
Keeping Your Home Safe While Preparing a Meal
Cooking is an important part of the holiday season. But it’s important to be aware of potential fire hazards. This includes keeping an eye on wattage. Many kitchen appliances demand a lot of power. Avoid potential electric hazards by only plugging one high-power electric device into an outlet at a time. Any outlet that might encounter water or liquids should have a GFCI. Be prepared in advance for an emergency. Ensure that you have fire extinguishers on hand, especially those rated for electrical fires.
Check Your Breaker Box
Old connectors that are overloaded are fire hazards. If your home is more than five decades old and the electrical wiring hasn’t been updated, this is a major fire hazard. Christmas lights, decorations, and appliances used during the holidays for cooking use a lot more electricity today than were used half a century ago. If your electrical system cannot handle the demand, contact our electricians at Magic Electric, Plumbing, Heating + Air.
Never Use Indoor Only Cords, Lights, or Extensions Outdoors
Before you use an extension cord outdoors or before you hang up holiday lights, read the label on the electric cord or the container the lights came in. There should be some indication as to whether the cord or the lights are to be used indoors or if they are okay to be used indoors and outdoors. The insulation around indoor-only cords is not designed to withstand the sunlight and elements, making them dangerous to use outside.
Keep an Eye on Pets, Especially Cats and Dogs
Pets are very curious and enjoy exploring new things. This can lead to potentially dangerous situations when you plug in holiday decorations. Keep watch over your pets to make sure that they’re not chewing on cords and creating potential electrocution hazards or fire hazards for your home. You can use a deterrent spray or a cord protector to keep your cables safe.
Trusted Experts in HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical Services
At Magic Electric, Plumbing, Heating + Air, our team is made up of highly skilled technicians who promptly address and rectify any issues with your HVAC system, plumbing network, or electrical system. We aim to enhance your home’s efficiency, increase comfort, and save you money.
Our services encompass general electrical repairs and installations, safety inspections, solar attic fan installation, electric vehicle charging, and outlet and lighting services. We provide plumbing solutions for bathrooms and kitchens, gas services, and the installation of water heaters, tankless water heaters, and water filtration systems. Additionally, we offer HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance, including air cleaning and filtration.
Contact Magic Electric, Plumbing, Heating + Air today and discover why we stand as the trusted name in home services within the Magic Valley and Treasure Valley regions.