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Deck the halls with energy savings, safety tips

November 30, 2020 | Laura King-Homan | energy efficiency, energy savings, tips
holiday lighting

It may be time to deck the halls, but you don’t have to break the bank – or a leg – in the process.

Switching to energy-efficient LED holiday lights can save you money right away, without losing any of the sparkle of the season. And taking some simple safety precautions when lighting up your home will ensure an injury-free holiday. With extra lights and decorations around the home, it’s always wise to also brush up on fire safety around the holidays.

Exterior holiday lighting safety

Here are some useful and simple safety tips to remember before dragging out the ladder to channel your inner Clark Griswold.

  • When hanging outdoor lights, stay far away from overhead power lines. Don’t use ladders or decorate trees near them either.
  • Outdoor lights should have labels that clearly state they are certified for outdoor use. Only plug them into ground-fault interrupter (GFCI) protected receptacles.
  • Only use lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory such as UL or ETL/ITSNA.
  • Before putting up your lights each year, take a few minutes to inspect them for frayed wired, bare spots or gaps in wire insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear.
  • If using an extension cord, make sure it is rated for the intended use. And don’t overload electrical outlets.
  • Don’t drive nails, staples or tacks through wiring insulation.
  • Unplug your tree lights and outdoor lights before you go to sleep, or invest in a light timer that shuts them off for you.

LED benefits

Now that you have a safety refresher for hanging lights outdoors, let’s talk money – specifically how much you can save by switching to energy-efficient LED holiday lights.

EE_Holiday Lighting_2018_lighting costs chart

Beyond energy savings, LED holiday lights have other benefits as well, such as:

  • They’re safer. LEDs are much cooler in temperature, reducing fire and burn risks.
  • They’re sturdier. LEDs are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, and are more resistat to breakage.
  • They last longer. LED lights typically last about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • They’re easier to install. Up to 25 strings of LEDs can be connected end-to-end without overloading a wall outlet.

Fire safety

Finally, the holidays are a prime time for fires in the home. In fact, one of every four Christmas tree fires in homes is caused by electrical problems.

Even though they are not common, Christmas tree fires are more likely to be serious, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Beyond the tree itself, the holidays often also involve candles and decorations that are subject to fire hazards. Statistics show the top three days for candle-related fires are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Overall, candles start two out of five home decoration structure fires.

The following infographic from the U.S. Fire Administration offers more tips to ensure a fire-free holiday season.

EE_Holiday Lighting_2019_infographic

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About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is the supervisor, Brand and Communication Operations, at Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, including the Omaha World-Herald.

View all posts by Laura King-Homan >

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