Happy holiday season, Chicagoland! By now your halls are probably already decked with boughs of holly, but there’s one decoration we all know is the real star of the show: The Tree! We hate to be a Scrooge or even remotely Grinch-like, but the truth of the matter is Christmas trees are a big responsibility. In fact, every holiday season, Christmas trees are responsible for an average of 160 house fires! No matter if you’ve put up an artificial one or the real deal, Arnold Electrical Services has a few electrical safety tips to help you make sure your holidays are as merry and bright as possible. Just not too bright.
Picking A Tree
If you decide to go with a real tree, one of the most important ways to keep your home safe is to pick a good one. Make sure the needles are green and hard to pull from the branches. If they break when you bend them between your fingers, it’s already too dried out and isn’t far off from bringing some giant kindling into your living room.
Placing Your Tree
Half of all Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems. The other half? They’re too close to a heat source. We know it might make for a festive photo, but keep that tree as far from your fireplace (and any radiators or space heaters) as possible. And speaking of fires, never throw spare needles into one. It may smell nice for a moment, but every needle has the potential to spark a bigger fire than anyone hoped for.
Decorating Your Tree
When stringing up lights, try to use LED when possible. They’re more energy efficient and don’t get as hot as traditional lights. You also want to make sure you don’t leave them on for extended periods of time. An easy way to keep it from getting lost in the holiday shuffle is a timer. That’s a surefire way to make sure those lights are off after you’re off to bed.
Watering Your Tree
Bringing any plant into your home means you have to water it, and a tree is no different. You’ll want a tree stand that holds at least one gallon of water, but before putting your tree inside, be sure to cut off any sap formed at the base as this will keep it from absorbing water. Remember, the drier your tree, the bigger the fire hazard! And be sure you keep that stand full. Liquids evaporate faster in a warm, toasty home, and the family pet is sure to enjoy a little festive pine-flavored water, so the water level may drop faster than you’d expect.
Know When To Say Goodbye
Not to be that guy, but when the holidays are over, take that tree down! The longer it stays in your home, the drier it gets and the more your home is at risk for a fire. When you DO finally remove your tree, be sure to dispose of your it at a recycling center or have it hauled away by a pickup service available in your community. Just contact your local authorities for the right way to get rid of your tree. It’s a question they get a lot, and they’re sure to have an answer.
Fake Trees Real Risk
There’s no shame in getting an artificial tree — they’re quicker to set up, easier to maintain and one purchase can last your family for years and years. But even an artificial tree can still pose a risk to your home. Make sure any artificial tree you purchase is labeled flame retardant. That doesn’t guarantee it can’t catch fire, but the risk is significantly lowered.
Have a happy holiday season, everyone from all of us at Arnold Electric. We hope your celebrations are full of joy and cheer, and we can’t wait to see what next year has in store!