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Light Up Your Holidays Safely

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Light Up Your Holidays Safely

Light up safely over the holidays:

  • Choose the right light for the job: light strings and other decorations are rated for indoor or outdoor use. Read the package instructions, and never exceed the recommended wattage.
  • Replace damaged electrical products (cords, plugs, ornaments).
  • Avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire. 
  • Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outlets when plugging in outdoors
  • Buy holiday decorations that have the mark of an accredited certification agency on the package. 
  • Once the package is opened, remember to check for the appropriate approval sticker appearing on the cord for products incorporating light strings. 

Extension Cords/Plugs:

  • Avoid overloading circuits with plugs and extension cords—this can create overheating and result in a fire. Fuses that frequently blow and circuits that trip can indicate too many items are connected to the circuit.
  • Never remove the third prong on plugs—this "grounding pin" prevents shock in the event of electrical equipment failure.
  • Plug outdoor electrical decorations into Ground Fault (GFCI)-protected outlets.
  • Don't run extension cords under carpets, through doorways, or in places where they can be damaged by furniture 
  • Keep outdoor connections above-ground and out of puddles; don't run them across driveways and/or walkways.

Installing Decorations:

  • No more than three light strings can be safely connected together in most cases—read manufactures instructions for directions. 
  • Make sure bulbs don't touch supply cords, wires, cloth, paper, or any material that's not part of the light string.
  • Use the proper clips for securing lights and decorations. Staples and nails can damage electrical cords.
  • Check for overhead power lines before using a ladder to put up decorations, or when you're hanging lights or decorations on trees.
  • Holiday decorations aren't designed for year-round use and can deteriorate over time. Take them down when the holidays are over.

Remember to:

  • Watch that children don’t put electrical decorations or cords in their mouths.
  • Keep an eye on pets that may chew or damage electrical cords.
  • Turn off holiday lights and decorations when you leave the house or go to bed.

Energy Efficiency Month

Friday, October 09, 2015

October means football season, pumpkin lattes, Halloween costumes and many other fun seasonal changes. In September 1991, President George Bush declared October as National Energy Awareness Month, encouraging government and organizations to raise awareness of the importance of sustainably managing the nation’s energy resources.

Recognizing the significance of the energy-water nexus, the Department of Energy has chosen to dedicate this year’s campaign to promoting both energy and water conservation. As we recently discussed on our blog, energy and water are highly connected and there is ample opportunity to reduce waste of both resources.

Energy Efficiency Tips for Fall

During the fall, cold temperatures cause electricity bills to increase due to continuous use of heating systems, which account for 42 percent of residential energy use. It can be tempting to turn up the heat as temperatures drop, but consumption can be minimized by ensuring HVAC systems are properly maintained. Dirty filters can slow air flow, making the system work harder, wasting more energy. Air leaks and improper insulation can be another major source of heat loss. Consumers can reduce heating bills 20 percent by checking air leaks around walls, ceilings, windows, doors, fixtures, switches and electrical outlets.

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