Holiday decorations are starting to go up, and they come with a new awareness of electrical safety precautions. From overloading your circuits to potentially starting an electrical fire, your holiday lights can pose some serious dangers if you’re not careful with them. Luckily, your electrician in Nashua, NH, is here to help you stay safe when decorating your home.
Here are some tips from your Nashua NH electrician to keep you safe while you decorate your home for the holidays.
Only Use Outdoor Lights Outside
When you buy string lights, you’ll notice that they are marked for indoor or outdoor use. That label isn’t just a suggestion. Outdoor lights are waterproof, so they are safe to use where they will be exposed to snow and ice. If you use indoor lights outside, you run the risk of electric shock or fire hazards. You should also only use heavy-duty extension cords that are listed for outdoor use.
Don’t Overload Your Circuits
Your breaker trips when you plug too many things into one circuit. When you are selecting which outlets to plug your holiday lights into, pay attention to what circuit they are on. If you already have other lights or appliances that are on the same circuit, adding string lights can overload it. A good rule of thumb is to stay within 80% of the circuit’s amp capacity. Most residential circuits have a capacity of 15 or 20 amps. A 15-amp circuit can take 1,800 watts, and a 20-amp circuit can take 2,400 watts. 80% capacity for those circuits is 1,440 watts and 1,920 watts, respectively.
Consider Switching to LEDs
While most families have a collection of tangled incandescent holiday lights that they fight with every year, many people have made the switch to LED lights. While they may be more expensive up front, they are safer and will save you money in the long run. LEDs use less wattage, and they do not get as hot as incandescent bulbs.
Turn the Lights Off at Night
While holiday lights look pretty lit up at night, you shouldn’t leave them on when you’re asleep. In general, you don’t want lights on when everyone is asleep and no one will notice if something goes wrong. If you’re afraid you’re going to forget to shut off the lights, you can put them on a timer so they will automatically turn on and off at a set time.