Each year, more and more homeowners and building owners show off their Halloween spirit with festive decorations. Though grand electrical displays once primarily lit up the Christmas season, Halloween decorations are on the rise. From glowing witches’ cauldrons and inflatable lawn decorations to Target’s viral 8’ Jack-o’-lantern ghoul, Lewis, Halloween electrical decorations bring a bright, festive flare to the season.
Like all electrical decorations, these displays present hazards to the safety of homes and those inside – but that doesn’t mean you should skip out on the seasonal spirit. Instead, use these electrical safety tips and tricks to keep your Halloween free from electrical horrors.
Plan Ahead and Don’t Overload
Before breaking out your outdoor decorations, take a few minutes to plan their placements and determine how many require a power source. If multiple decorations need power, it’s essential to keep your electrical circuit in mind and not overload it. Also, avoiding using an indoor outlet to power an outdoor decoration is crucial as they are not designed to power outside electrical devices.
Use the Right Devices in the Right Places
When deciding the placement of your Halloween decorations, ensure you’re using the right lights for indoor use and vice versa. If an indoor power source like a standard power strip gets wet, it may cause an electrical fire. In contrast, electrical decorations and devices designed specifically for outdoor use are water resistant. With this in mind, ensuring you only use decorations, cords and power strips graded for outdoor use when decorating your lawn or around your house is crucial.
Check the Label Rating
Only use lights that have been safety tested and approved by Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Tested lights will have a UL label on the box and each string. UL Marks symbolize trusted safety and performance, meaning the electrical product has been certified to meet scientific, quality or security standards. View all UL Marks and their meaning to learn more about the safety standards of your electrical decorations.
Utilize Surge Protectors
When working with multiple electrical decorations, using a surge protector is an effective way of protecting your devices from voltage spikes in alternating current (AC) circuits. Surge protectors keep multiple displays lit and prevent them from overheating – making them a critical tool in avoiding electrical fires.
Look Out for Damages
Just like when using any other electrical equipment, it’s essential to take the extra minute to examine your devices. Concerns to look out for include frayed wiring, damaged insulation along electrical wires, visible copper showing through insulation, loose electrical connections, broken sockets and faulty plugs. If you notice any of these damages, make the needed repairs before powering up your electronics, as they could cause an electric shock or fire.
Secure Your Decorations
Though outdoor decor is designed to weather wind and rain, it’s important to display them securely. Fasten outdoor lights to trees, exterior walls or other strong supports with zip ties or insulated U-shaped staples, not nails or regular stables, as they might puncture cords and cause electrical hazards.
Watch Your Cord Placement
While setting up your Halloween display, be mindful of where you run your cords in and outside your home or property. Since Halloween includes a significant amount of foot traffic with trick-or-treaters, this practice is especially important for outside cords. Avoid running cords across sidewalks and other walkways to prevent tripping hazards. Also, make sure not to run cords through doorways or any areas where they could be crushed or pinched, as this can damage the insulation and cause faulty wiring.
Always Unplug When Necessary
Though electronic displays bring stunning seasonal sceneries in and outside your home, it’s good practice to unplug all devices anytime you leave your home and before you go to bed. Leaving electronics running for long periods can cause hazards like overheating, overloading your circuit and electrical fires.
Halloween is already scary enough – don’t let electrical issues bring extra shock to the season. Our experts at Cajun Electric provide a range of residential and commercial electrical solutions, from lighting design-build to electrical inspection reports, preventative care assessments and electric vehicle charger installations. Contact us today for professional electrical solutions!