2021 Holiday Home Safety Tips

With relaxed travel and gathering restrictions this year, many of us are looking forward to more entertaining and overnight guests in our homes. Here are a few tips on how to keep your home both welcoming and safe throughout the holiday season.

  • Don’t overload circuits
    Typical household branch circuits are 15 amps, and this is plenty of capacity for normal household use. But adding large numbers of holiday lights, countertop kitchen appliances, and supplemental heating can put more load on a circuit than it’s designed for. This can lead to annoying trips to the breaker box but it’s also a warning sign that trouble is lurking. If you keep tripping breakers, if outlets or cords feel warm, or if you notice any off smells around outlets, electrical devices, or cords, disconnect them to avoid creating a fire hazard.
  • Don’t exceed extension cord capacity
    Extension cords are rated to carry a specific load, which is indicated on the packaging. When that’s exceeded, the cords can trip breakers or become overheated, melting insulation and causing short circuits and fires. Feel your cords after are on for a while. If they feel warm to the touch, replace them with higher capacity cords. Better yet, arrange your holiday lights and appliances so you don’t need extension cords at all.
  • Don’t run cords under carpet or rugs
    Modern building codes require wall outlets to be spaced at least every 12 feet but older homes may not conform to this, necessitating the use of extensions. Use them if you must but realize that even a properly sized extension cord can get warm under load. When they’re run under rugs or carpet, this heat can’t dissipate and can lead to the same safety issues as an undersized cord.
  • Protect electrical cords from pets and small children
    Dogs and cats (and toddlers) love to chew on things, and an exposed cord can be a real temptation. Aside from the risk of electrocution, gnawed-away insulation presents the danger of short circuits and fires. And loose or tangled cords can be a strangulation hazard, too.
    Pets may roam the house at all hours, so check your cords frequently for damage.
  • Avoid tripping hazards
    Run any cords safely away from traffic areas to prevent trip hazards (but not under rugs or carpet). If you must run a cord across a threshold or other open area, use a cord protector, available at hardware and home improvement centers, and be sure it’s secured properly in place.
  • Don’t let your tree or wreaths dry out
    With all the holiday chores, it’s easy to overlook keeping your greenery moist. Check the water levels in tree stands and containers and discard any vegetation that starts to turn brown or feels brittle to the touch before it becomes a fire hazard.
  • Use candles safely
    Decorative candles add a warm glow to cold holiday nights. But neglecting them can result in disaster. Keep them safely away from combustible items like drapes and decorations, keep them seated securely in holders and away from high traffic areas, pets, and children to prevent accidents. And never leave them unattended; fires can start and spread quickly. This applies to your dining table candles especially when using a tablecloth. Kids have a habit of playing under tables resulting in the tablecloth being pulled from the table, lit candles will ignite the entire tablecloth.
  • Switch to LED Lights
    LED lights come in nearly all sizes, colors, and shapes for holiday lighting —including the retro-look of large incandescent bulbs. They last longer, burn cooler, and draw much less current than incandescent bulbs. Because they draw less current, LED bulbs let you put more lights on a circuit without risking an overload. We highly recommend them for all your lighting needs year-round.

The pros at Allstar Electrical Services want to extend our best wishes to you and your loved ones for a safe and joyful holiday season and a better year to come. We look forward to serving your electrical needs through the remainder of this year and many more to come.

Give us a call or visit our web site, allstarelectrical.com, for any of your holiday electrical needs, and for help on your projects in the coming year.