Energy tips for lighting the holiday season safely - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Energy tips for lighting the holiday season safely

Posted: Updated:

As preparations for the holidays continue, keep electric safety in mind during this busy time of year and avoid potential hazards.

Here are a few safety tips to ensure the season stays bright:

Make sure to check your lights: Be sure all your holiday lights and decorations are in good working order. Look for frayed or bare wires, loose connections or damaged plugs. All electric holiday decorations should carry a label from a nationally recognized testing lab such as Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., which means they've been independently tested for safety.

Observe the rule of three: Never connect more than three strings of lights together on one outlet. Overloading an outlet may lead to a blown fuse, or worse, a fire.  If you have lots of lights to plug in, use multiple outlets or a power strip with its own built-in surge protector.

Be careful with your cords: Avoid using extension cords if you can; if you must use one, select a cord that's long enough for your needs. Never place electrical cords in high traffic areas or run them under rugs or carpeting where they could become worn, overheat and cause a fire. Be sure the plug is not placed at a sharp angle and the cord is not being pinched by a door, window or heavy furniture. Don't nail or staple cords to the wall or baseboard – this can damage the wire insulation. Never remove the ground pin (the third prong) to make a three-prong plug fit a two-prong outlet.

Stay safe outdoors as well: Make sure all lights, extension cords and decorations on the exterior of your house are labeled for outdoor use. Outdoor lights and decorations should be plugged into ground fault circuit interrupter outlets. Fasten lights securely to trees or buildings to protect them from wind damage, but be sure you are not damaging the cord's insulation when you attach them. If possible, use a wood or fiberglass ladder when hanging lights, and keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet from power lines. Keep electrical cords free of snow and ice and don't run them through areas where melting snow and ice could pool.

Be vigilant: Small children are fascinated by colorful holiday lights and shiny ornaments. If you have young kids around, avoid putting lights near the ground or on lower branches of the tree. Have tamper-resistant receptacles installed in place of standard outlets, or use safety covers on all unused electrical outlets, including those on extension cords or power strips. Always turn off and unplug lights when you leave the house or go to bed for the evening. 

For more information visit

Powered by Frankly