‘Tis the Season for Holiday Lighting—Is Yours Safe?
As the end of the year approaches, homeowners throughout the country are gearing up for end of the year festivities and New Year’s parties, in addition to decorating their living spaces. Whether inside or out, your lighting and lit decorations can be beautiful additions to your property. But before you plug in and light up for the holidays, take some safety precautions.
For example, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing holiday lighting, and inspect light strings to ensure that any damaged strands are discarded. Frayed or cracked electrical cords or broken sockets lead to fire hazards that you definitely do not need.
Avoid Electrical Overloads
While this is a risk any time of the year, the holidays could potentially increase the hazard of overloading your electrical system. The electrical panel in your home is only capable of handling so much. Using multiple power strips and extension cords may seem like a good idea, but you risk putting too much demand on your circuit breakers.
Power strips aren’t the only risk—you should only plug one high-wattage appliance into each outlet at a time. If you’re having such electrical problems, it may be time to consider a professional electric panel upgrade.
Take Care with Outdoor Lighting
Exterior lighting, unlike the lighting you use inside your home, needs to be weather-resistant. The same goes for extension cords. Also, whether we are discussing holiday decorations or outdoor lighting in general—if they are labeled “outdoor lighting only,” then keep them outside. They will be too hot for interior use and will present a safety hazard.
Another factor to keep in mind is whether you have the correct outlets. All outdoor electric lights and decorations should only be plugged into circuits which are protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Fortunately, you do have the option of purchasing portable outdoor GFCI’s, though if you choose to utilize outdoor lighting year-round, consider having these electrical components professionally installed.
Professional Advice for Your Lighting
Whatever season it may be, when lighting is done properly, it can have a substantial impact on the appearance and functionality of your home. The right kind of lights and lighting fixtures can be festive and look nice, but they are a huge burden to your home’s electrical grid.
With professional assistance, your indoor and outdoor lighting can be installed and maintained without you ever having to worry about them working safely and effectively. Keep this in mind this holiday season, and we hope you have a safe and happy end to 2016!
Hosting a Christmas Party This Year? No Sweat!
Preparing for a Christmas party can be a stressful event: there’s food to buy, invitations to send, decorations to set up, and music playlists to plan. One thing homeowners often miss in all this planning is whether or not their HVAC system is up to the task of heating a home full of people. No need to worry, however. If you’ve had your HVAC system maintained in the last year (or this fall, if you have a heat pump) then you’re likely in good shape.
But no matter how well your system is maintained, it’s designed to handle the comfort needs of the small number of occupants that are typically present in a home at one time. Our guess is that if you’re hosting a Christmas party, the number of attendants in your home at one time is going to far exceed the average amount of occupants. So, what can you do to fully prepare your HVAC system for your Christmas party?
Take Care of Any Repair Needs
If during your last maintenance visit, your HVAC technician informed you of repair needs—now is the time to get them taken care of. This way you can ensure that your system is in good shape and won’t breakdown during the strain it may undergo this holiday season. This is true no matter what type of heating system you may have.
Turn Your System on Early Before the Party
A few hours before your first guests are to arrive, turn your system on if it’s not already on. Set it about 5 degrees or more lower than what you find comfortable. You may be a bit chilly for a while, but once more guests come in, you’ll quickly notice the temperature rise.
Using a dehumidifier is another good idea if your Christmas party is during a particularly stuffy week. High humidity is actually a pretty uncomfortable side effect of many large parties, since each person’s exhalations raise moisture levels. If you don’t have a professionally installed dehumidifier, then you can simply run your AC for a couple days before the party to rid your home of at least some excess moisture.
The most important thing to remember about hosting a Christmas party is to have fun. No matter what little glitches may arise, avoiding stress is as easy as being prepared and remembering what the holiday season is all about—friends, family, and food!