It’s that time of the year when many of us are decorating our home, business or office inside and out with festive strings of lights. Lights over the fireplace, lights wrapped around trees and bushes, lights hanging along roof lines and eaves.
We have compiled a list of tips to help you save money on lighting costs, as well as tips to help you avoid safety hazards.
Make smart lighting choices.
LED holiday lights are the way to go! They use up to 80% less energy, are brighter and safer, as they are much cooler than incandescent lights. They’re easier to install—up to 24 strings of LEDs can be connected end-to-end without overloading a wall socket. They last ten times longer and have no filaments or glass to break.
Limit usage of energy.
Set timers for lights to turn on and off automatically. Keep light displays on during the evening and turn them off overnight. Set timers for lights to automatically turn on when it gets dark and off in the middle of the night. You can save more by keeping light displays on only 8 hours of the evening (when you can see them).
Shiny ornaments, tinsel and mirrors can multiply the effects of your lighting without using more energy. Be sure to keep tinsel away from pets, though. Reflective ornaments and tinsel are just as bright at night, so getting creative with your lighting display can multiply your resources for shine. Don't forget the ribbons, wreaths, garland, and reflective menorahs, for electricity- free age-old traditions still bring holiday cheer.
Here are some great tips to keep you and your loved ones safe this holiday season.
Plan ahead. Avoid overloading extension cords and wall sockets by following the manufacturer’s limits for the number of light strings that can be safely connected together.
Hang lighting safely. Make sure that no cords will be pinched by furniture or placed under rugs, furniture or other appliances. If covered, cords can overheat or become frayed, increasing the risk of fire. Replace faulty lights instead of trying to repair them.
Avoid electric hazards outdoors. Before climbing ladders to string outdoor lights, check for overhead power lines on your roof or attached to your home. Keep at least 10 feet away from overhead lines at all times. Never place yourself or any object such as a string of lights in a position that risks contact with a power line—the result can be fatal.
Use GFCI outlets. Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). How do you know if it’s a GFCI? Look for the “test” and “reset” buttons. If circuits are not GFCI-protected, portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased.
Check your environment outdoors. Before stringing lights on outdoor trees, make sure tree limbs haven’t grown into or near power lines. Branches, entire trees and even the ground adjacent to a tree can become energized when trees contact power lines.
Put your tree in a safe location. Do not place your holiday tree near a heat source such as a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, making it more susceptible to fires caused by heat, flame or sparks.
Check condition of lights. Inspect light strands for cracked or broken plugs, frayed insulation or bare wires. Worn cords can cause fires, so discard damaged sets of lights.
Read the labels. Be sure to check each product label to see whether the lights are intended for indoor or outdoor use. Make sure lights have a tag indicating they have been evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory.