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Decorate Your Home Safely This Halloween!

Three Tips for Avoiding a Decoration Nightmare This Halloween!

Halloween is right around the corner, which means it’s time to bust out the decorations and transform the house into a tableau of terror! In recent years, spooky yard decorations have begun to rival those found at Christmas time - vibrant colored lights, life-size animatronic ghouls, and glowing inflatable ghosts and goblins are just a few of the latest decorating trends.

And with so many new decorations requiring power, electrical safety should be the first thing on every homeowner’s mind as they decorate for the season of scares. After all, a festive horror show is all in good fun, but an electrical fire or electric shock are horrific scenes to be avoided at all costs. So keep reading for three simple ways to decorate safely for fright night!

Carefully Inspect Electrical Decorations Before Usewiring

Before the decorating party begins, the first thing to do is to inspect all decorations that use electricity, whether they’re fresh out of the box or being dragged out of storage. The first thing to check is the tag or label. It should always state that the equipment has been approved by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) or Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and should read “for outdoor use” if being set up outside.

Next, the homeowner should check for loose connections, broken or missing bulbs, frayed or bare wires, and damaged cords. Any of these issues can cause an electric shock or a fire. To be on the safe side, it’s best to use decorations with LED lights rather than older incandescent bulbs - LED bulbs don’t get nearly as hot as incandescent bulbs and use far less energy.

Choose Power Outlets Wisely

The next step is to map out a strategy for plugging in all the decorations safely. For one thing, no more than three sections of string lights should be plugged into one another. Cords should also never be placed where they can be pinched, crushed, bent, or twisted - never run them through doorways, windows, under rugs, or in areas that get a lot of foot traffic.

Outdoor decorations should always be plugged into a GFCI-protected outlet. GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) help prevent electrocution by instantly shutting off the flow of electricity when an anomaly in the current is detected. Most modern homes are required to have these, but some older homes may not, or they may have become worn or damaged and need replacing.

Use Surge Protectors When Plugging In Multiple Decorationssurge

Only using the appropriate outlets is crucial - but of course, there are only so many outlets available. And for those who want a particularly extravagant display, they won’t be enough. That’s where a surge protector comes in. Surge protectors are like power strips, but with one very important benefit - they prevent damage to the plugged-in devices in the event of a power surge or spike.

Power surges can occur when high-power devices like HVAC units switch on or when a downed power line or faulty wire causes a disruption or voltage spike in the home’s current. The surge of extra voltage can cause plugged-in electronics to overheat, which can damage them and start electrical fires. 

A surge protector diverts this excess current to the outlet’s grounding wire before it can reach the electronics. This can truly be a lifesaver, especially where outdoor Halloween decorations are concerned - dry, fallen leaves and the flowing robes of ghosts and witches can ignite in an instant. For added peace of mind, homeowners can even ask their electrician about installing a whole-home surge protector to ensure that every outlet - inside and out - is protected.

About Edison Electric, Inc.

As a locally-owned small business, Edison Electric, Inc. has been proudly serving the Minneapolis, MN community since 2007. Their licensed, insured, drug-tested, and background-checked technicians always show up on time and put safety and service above all else. Edison guarantees outstanding service, honest up-front pricing, and complete satisfaction with every job. Call now for electric services!