Tis the season for joy and festivities with family and friends. But did you know that it can also be one of the most dangerous times of the year? Christmas trees, decorations, indoor and outdoor lights, candles and more can be breathtakingly beautiful, and present an ambience of warmth, comfort and cheer. But they can also pose some extreme safety hazards. And even when the holidays are over, the winter is especially prone to electrical safety hazards.
The following are some important points to keep in mind this holiday season, and all throughout the winter:
- Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs more often in the winter months because CO gas is a byproduct of the process that produces heat for furnaces and water heaters. Also, we tend to seal our homes more tightly during the winter, which unfortunately, may cause an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- House fires happen more frequently during the winter, especially around the holidays. This is due to outdoor and indoor lights, candles, extension cords, dry Christmas trees, space heaters and more.
- Electric shock can happen when plugging outdoor lights into exterior outlets that aren’t ground fault circuit interrupters.
But the good news is that there are some preventative measures you can take to help avoid these hazards:
- Inspect wiring for damage. Torn lighting on your Christmas tree can cause holiday sparks that lead to fires.
- Don’t hang lights on a dry tree. Artificial trees are safest, but if you want a natural tree, make sure to keep it well-watered. A dry tree could quickly become a literal torch if an electrical short or excess heat sparks a fire. On average in the United States, there are 200 house fires caused annually by Christmas trees.
- Upgrade to LED Christmas lights. Since LED lights produce almost no heat to the touch, they are the safest option to use around your tree, wreaths and garland. Not only are LEDs a lot more durable than traditional bulbs, they also use up to 75% less energy and can last 25 times as long. So you can be as creative and elaborate as you want with decorating without having to worry about a high electric bill.
- Never leave candles unattended. Although candles can really enhance holiday cheer, they can also be very dangerous. Lit candles have an open flame that will easily ignite anything that will burn. Don’t hang candles from your Christmas tree. Also, make sure to keep them away from anything flammable when decorating. Always blow them out before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Use caution with space heaters. Keep space heaters away from anything flammable such as drapes, blankets, paper, pillows, and more. Keep children and pets away from the heater, as it can be a burn or shock hazard. If possible, purchase a space heater with a safety switch that automatically shuts off if the heater tips over.
Although taking the above safety precautions are critical to minimizing dangers, there are still many hidden hazards to be aware of. For example, outdated equipment in your home’s electrical systems such as fuse boxes, electrical panels and damaged wiring are some of the biggest causes of fires.
When our A#1 Air pros perform a Holiday Electrical Safety Inspection in your home, they pay close attention to the following:
- Carbon monoxide detectors. Because CO poisoning is more common in the winter, we check all alarms to ensure they are up-to-date and working properly.
- Smoke detectors. Since a majority of home house fires occur during the winter months, make sure that your smoke detectors are functioning correctly and properly positioned throughout your home.
- Whole-home surge protectors. Winter storms have the potential to cause power surges in your home. This can put your homes’ electrical devices, HVAC equipment, and appliances at risk of damage and fire. If you have an existing whole-home surge protector, we’ll make sure it’s operating correctly. If not, an A#1 Air electrical pro will provide you with a highly-affordable option for your home.
- Outdoor GFCI outlets, We check to make sure your home’s exterior outlets are up to code. All outlets with the possibility of water exposure must be ground fault circuit interrupters, or GFCI outlets. We’ll check to make sure you have the right outlets installed and if need be, provide upgrades.
- Outdoor lighting. If you already have outdoor lighting installed, our holiday electrical safety inspection involves checking to ensure proper operation.
An A#1 Air Holiday Electrical Safety Inspection can uncover problems with your home’s wiring and electrical equipment. Our electrical pros may also make recommendations to help keep you and your family safe throughout the winter, and all year-round. So call us today. And from all of us at A#1 Air, have a safe and happy holiday season!