Daylight savings time ending earlier this month reminds us our smoke alarms. We at McAllister Electrical Services advise folks to check their alarms twice each year. It’s a great way to use that “extra” hour.
Shorter daylight hours mean the holidays are coming up quick! There’s no better way to make the season bright than with outdoor holiday lights. Let’s make it merry and low-stress as well!
‘Tis the Season?
We don’t think it’s too early to start hanging outdoor lights. There are still some warm, snow-free days ahead. It’s best carefully plan your outdoor lights and hang them on a bright, precipitation-free day. Waiting until later in the season will put you in a rush and give you more severe weather to deal with. You don’t have to supply power yet, but get the tough ladder-requiring jobs out of the way.
Are you ready to go all out with your holiday light display? Take care with electrical loads or you will indeed go all out. General guidelines say to limit total wattage to 1500 watts per household outlet. A giant inflatable Santa takes about 200 watts. A strand of large C9 colorful bulbs takes 175 watts.
Large displays add up quickly. Just because your light display does work doesn’t mean it should work. Do not overload circuits. As an extra level of caution, plug lights into ground-fault-circuit-interrupter (GFCI) outlets, which will trip a breaker if too much electricity is demanded.
Protection from the elements
That giant inflatable Santa only comes with a 6-foot cord. Chances are you will need several extension cords. Use extension cords rated for outdoor use only, as indoor cords do not provide protection from the elements. Additionally, protect connections with weatherproof connection boxes.
Check that the cords and connections on all lighting equipment is in good condition. If not, it’s a great time to upgrade to LED lighting which uses much less electricity.
Keep all cords and connections in sight. Don’t allow them to be covered with rugs or pinched: Avoid anything that could bring pressure or friction to the cords.
While having a higher upfront cost, replacing older incandescent bulbs with more modern LED options will pay off in the long run. LED lighting takes much less electricity and lasts much longer. Put your lights on a timer and limit the hours you display your lights. After all, can you really sleep well with all of those lights on outside? Best to turn them off at bedtime.
We don’t mean to be a Scrooge and bring too many rules, but we want you to be safe this holiday season. We would much rather help you upgrade your outdoors or bring you new trends than repair a home after a fire.