3 Tips To Help You Decorate Safely for Halloween This Year
October is here, which means the time has finally come to dig out the decorations (or go shopping for some new ones) and transform the house into a festive tribute to the season of fright! And since so many of today’s Halloween decorating trends involve enough power cords and equipment to put the most extravagant Christmas light displays to shame, it’s vital to pay extra attention to electrical safety this year.
Crafting a dazzling tapestry of terror is a great way to thrill trick-or-treaters and celebrate the season, but an electrical fire is a horror that no one should experience. Read on to discover three ways to make sure this year’s decorations are as safe as they are scary!
Closely Inspect Electrical Decorations
First on the list of decoration safety tips is to examine all electric decorations – and any extension cords or other equipment that will be used – for signs of trouble. That means exposed wiring, damaged cords, loose connections, missing or broken lightbulbs, and missing ground prongs (the third cylindrical prong on a 3-prong plug).
Older decorations are more likely to have damage after being used, handled, then coiled up in storage all year. If they have incandescent bulbs (which tend to get quite hot), homeowners may want to consider replacing them with newer decorations that employ cooler, more energy-efficient LED lights. It’s also imperative to ensure all outdoor decorations, cords, and electrical equipment are rated for outdoor use.
Come Up With a Strategy for Where To Plug In Decorations
Next up for ensuring safe Halloween decorations – be smart about where and how decorations are plugged in. One should plug all outdoor decorations into GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets. These devices monitor the flow of electrical current and instantly cut it off if an anomaly is detected – a vital tool for preventing electrocution.
It’s also important to run cords where one won’t trip over them, stepped on, bent, twisted, or crushed. String lights should never be placed when they contact curtains, upholstery, paper, or dry vegetation. To avoid damaging wires, it’s best to use plastic clips or hooks to hang lights and run cords, rather than nails or staples. And of course, never plug more string lights into one another than the manufacturer recommends (typically no more than three sections).
Use Surge Protectors
A power surge is just what it sounds like: a sudden spike in voltage in an electrical system or individual circuit. This can occur when lightning strikes power lines, power is restored after a blackout, or more commonly, from faulty wiring or an overloaded circuit. A power surge can cause any appliances plugged into the affected circuit to overheat, potentially starting a fire. A surge protector prevents this voltage spike from traveling into the electronics plugged into it.
Of course, it’s still crucial not to overload the surge protector itself – always add up the amps of the decorations to ensure they don’t exceed the surge protector’s rating. And it never hurts to have a professional electrician inspect the home’s electrical systems to ensure the GFCIs are working, and the home is ready for epic Halloween decorations that will scare the daylights out of the neighbors – safely!
About Point Loma Electric and Plumbing
Point Loma Electric and Plumbing has been San Diego, CA’s go-to home service resource for over 32 years. Their trustworthy expert technicians, unbeatable customer service, and commitment to safety have earned them numerous awards and an A+ BBB rating. They always provide up-front pricing and guarantee 100% satisfaction on every job. Call now for electrical service!Three Reasons To Be Thankful For Your Plumber This Thanksgiving » « How To Fix (and How Not To Fix) a Blocked Drain