Growing up in the Arnold house, my mom had one rule about Christmas decorations:
Absolutely nothing goes up until the calendar read December. That means no trimming the tree on Thanksgiving, no tinsel on Black Friday, and definitely no string lights the first day of November. And my mom’s name is Holly, so you know she takes the holidays seriously.
But in 2022, it seems like the lights go up earlier and earlier every year! Now there’s nothing wrong with your neighborhood Clark Griswald — at Arnold Electric, we just want to make sure you’re celebrating safely.
Check out these simple tips to make sure the only things lighting up in hour home this holiday season are on purpose.
1. DON’T OVER EXTEND YOUR EXTENSION CORDS
This first one’s easy: Inspect your extension cords and holiday light strings for damage. If they’re frayed or even a little bit worn, it’s best to just get some new ones. The relatively small cost to replace them now will be way less than replacing a home later! Just remember: string lights are pretty simple and if they don’t look right… they probably aren’t!
2. LED LIGHTS LEAD THE WAY
If you do have to buy new string lights, it’s LED or nothing. LED lights not only use less energy than traditional incandescent holiday lights, they also operate at a lower temperature. That means you’re not just saving money on your electric bill, you could also be saving your home from a fire caused by igniting bulbs.
3. USE YOUR INSIDE CORDS
You remember that teacher who would always tell you to use your inside voice in class? Well that same advice can apply to holiday decorations: use indoor cords indoors and use outdoor cords outdoors. It’s not complicated, but you’d be surprised at how many indoor cords get used outdoors and cause safety issues. That indoor/outdoor isn’t just a suggestion or based on color — outdoor cords are coated with insulation specifically made to protect the wiring from the elements.
4. KEEP IT COVERED
Speaking of the elements, just because a cord is labeled “outdoor” doesn’t mean it’s invincible. It’s important to protect any extension cord end from the elements. The days of those old exterior “flip lid” outlet covers are gone. Today the standard is a “bubble cover” with enough room to protect the entire cord end while it’s plugged into the exterior outlet. If your home doesn’t already have these, Arnold Electric can get some installed in no time to make sure you’re covered long before Santa’s sleigh arrives.
5. THE TIME FOR TIMERS IS NOW
When hanging lights outside, we highly, highly recommend using a timer. Most are easy to install, and you only have to set them once. They also save on energy, help eliminate the risk of electrical fire, and keep you from being “that one house that never remembers to turn off their lights at night.”
6. DON’T UPSIZE THE BREAKER
If you overload a circuit that your holiday lights are plugged into, installing a larger amp is NOT the solution you want. That solution may work for now, but what you’re really doing is increasing the risk of electrical fire in your home. We can’t think of a worse holiday gift than melting wires from sloppy DIY electrical work. If you’re even slightly hesitant about any electrical situation in your home, give us a call and we’ll help out however we can.
7. HAVE AN ELECTRICIAN ON CALL
One of the most important parts of home maintenance is doing an annual maintenance and safety inspection — and most homeowners don’t do it. At Arnold Electric, one of our favorite services is our Lifetime Annual Maintenance program. For a ONE TIME service charge of $99, we’ll come by EVERY YEAR at NO ADDITIONAL COST to check out your electrical systems to make sure you’re safe. We’re not sure how to fit that one in a stocking, but it’s definitely a gift that the whole family would benefit from!
Stay safe and happy holidays!