It's the Holiday Season and we want to make our homes bright and festive. Follow these few simple safety tips to be sure that accidents don't ruin the most joyous of occasions.
- Decorate only with lights that have a NOEL or U/L testing agency label. Check wires, plugs and sockets for signs of wear or defects. Remember: If in doubt - throw them out.
- Do not overload outlets and extension cords. Never tie together more than three extension cords.
- Be sure decorative lights used outside are approved for outdoor use.
- When decorating outdoors, be aware of all power lines. Don't work near overhead power lines or anywhere there is a possibility of contacting an overhead power line, either directly or indirectly, with a ladder or other piece of equipment.
- Place Christmas trees away from fireplaces, radiators, television sets, and other sources of heat that may prematurely dry out the tree and make it more susceptible to fire. Make sure the tree has a sufficient amount of water at all times.
- Don't burn wrapping paper or boxes in the fireplace. These types of materials ignite quickly and may burn uncontrollably.
More of us are becoming aware of energy costs. Holiday lights will add to the bill, but here is a quick way to estimate the impact of seasonal lights.
- Count the bulbs on all of your decorative indoor and outdoor lights.
- Check the wattage per bulb.
- Multiply watts per bulb by number of bulbs. (1 watt per bulb x 1,000 bulbs = 1,000 watts).
- Convert watts to kilowatts - 1,000 watts = 1 kilowatt (kw).
- Estimate the hours per month the lights are on. (5 hours per day x 30 days = 150 hours)
- Multiply the total kilowatts by the total number of hours the lights will be on to get the total kilowatt-hours (kwh). For example, 1 kw x 150 hours = 150 kwh.
- Multiply the total kilowatt-hours by the total cost of electricity per kwh. (150 kwh x $0.14 per kwh = $21) In this example, the cost of holiday lighting would be an additional $21 per month.
The season to be merry is here. Make itt a safe and energy efficient one!