If your idea of holiday fun is stringing lights on every available outdoor surface and gracing your yard with inflatable, lighted Santa Clauses or snowmen, set them up safely.
- Use electric outlets and cords that are rated for outside use andfor your specific application. Make sure all lights and extension cords are in good condition
- Plug cords into GFCI-protected (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) circuits. Place power source componentsin covered areas to prevent moisture..
- Be extremely careful around electric outlets, cords, and lightsespecially when it’s wet or damp outside, or if they could have absorbed moisture at any time.
- Replace old lightbulb strings with LEDs, which are 70 percent more efficient than standard ones. They’ll last longer and use less power. Some big box stores will give credit on LEDs in exchange for your old bulbs.
- Don’t overload a surge protector, being extra careful ifyour home is older and the electric panel has not been upgraded. While LEDs pull only a small load of electricity, inflatables gobble it up. Never run too many off one surge protector. Contact your local electric co-op for advice.
- Unplug your lights and inflatables during off hours or set them on a timer so they’re not running 24/7. Blow-ups are powered by fans and can cost up to $1.50 per day for electricity.
“A good rule is to turn everything on at 5 p.m. and off at 11,” says Jude Canchola, Residential Services manager for Owen Electric co-op, headquartered in Owenton. “No one’s driving around at midnight looking at your lights.”