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Christmas Light Home Safety Tips From A General Contractor

December 09, 2013

Christmas Light Home Safety Tips From A General Contractor

With the holiday season comes holiday decorating. And holiday decorating really can only mean one thing—lights! Christmas lights are the most popular holiday decoration in North America. And for good reason; nothing can break the icy grips of Montreal’s winter faster than a string of well-placed, coloured lights!

But with all these extra cords and plugs and electricity-using decor, there are some important safety points to keep in mind. Overloading your electrical panel with holiday decorations and lights can pose a safety risk and even a fire risk, especially on older homes. So we put together a few tips to keep in mind from a Montreal general contractor when decking your halls this year:

  • Electrical circuits are only designed to handle a maximum load. If you exceed the load on any one circuit two things can happen:
         A. You blow a breaker and the lights go out,
         B. Your breaker malfunctions and you have a fire, melt cords, or other electrical problems.
    None of these are very festive, nor bring much holiday cheer; so make sure you are not overloading your circuits!
  • Most outlets can only handle two or three strands of lights. If you are exceeding this you may run into problems. Make a plan, spread your lights out to multiple outlets and use extension cords to reach potentially unused outlets.
  • Make use of power bars. If you must use multiple strands of Christmas lights then plug them into a power bar and then into the outlet. Choose a quality power bar with a built in circuit; that way if it overloads it will simply shut off.
  • Inspect all of your lights. Go through all of your lights and check them thoroughly for frayed wires, broken/spent bulbs or any other problems. Frayed wires can cause major malfunctions and overload your electrical system. You can repair frayed wires with electrical tape or replace the whole strand.
  • Use energy efficient lights. A quick visit to your local store will show you all the options there are now for energy efficient holiday lights. Consider phasing out your older lights or replacing them with newer more efficient ones. Some of the newer lights use up to 80% less electricity. That’s good news for your home’s circuits and your pocket book!
  • Most homes are equipped with 20 amp circuits (some may be 15 or less, especially in older homes), the general rule is to not exceed 80% of a circuits output. If you follow this general rule, you should be safe.
  • Know your home! These guidelines are only tips, your individual home may have a very unique situation. Make sure you monitor all of your holiday lights and the circuits they are plugged into so you can note any problems as soon as they arise.

Happy Holidays from the whole team here at Dilamco!

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