Preparing for Christmas Lights

As Christmas draws near, many decorate their homes and churches with lights, Nativity scenes, little villages, reindeer, inflatable Santa’s and all kinds decorations that plug into an electrical outlet.  Most of us see our electrical bills go up during December and have decided it’s worth it in order to enjoy the holiday decorations.  Why not have goals this Christmas season to save a little bit on your electrical bill and safely enjoy the holiday decorations?  I’ll share some ways you can do both.

When you’re dealing with electricity, we encourage you to enlist the services of a licensed electrician to accomplish anything that requires you to contact source power.  Connecting your lights and electrical decorations to the closest outlet is the typical way most of us do this.  You do not want overload a breaker by simply installing all your plugs into one or two receptacles.  Most receptacles are connected to one another and are already supplying electricity to something else.  Make sure you are aware of the amperage load on the circuit breaker you will use by knowing what your decorations will draw.  Check in advance to see if a breaker has room for an additional load will help prevent tripping breakers or moving decorations.

It’s a good idea to use power strips to the greatest extent possible (but do not overload a particular receptacle with numerous plugs in this instance either).  Power strips provide additional protection to prevent an overload on a circuit, something that extension cords cannot do.

Have an electrician come in and tighten the terminals on the breakers in your panel box.  This will not only ensure the breaker is well connected to the source power but improves performance (efficiency) of breaker as well.  This process provides some energy savings not just at Christmas, but also throughout the year.

If you are going to use timers to schedule when your lights turn on and off, plan how and where you will connect to the timer.  Some timers provide an outlet for more than one plug, so use these where appropriate.  The use of a task appropriate timer on a single line is the best scenario for decorating.  However, an extension cord with numerous items plugged into it, which in turn is plugged into a timer on the supply-end, is not a safe scenario for your decorations.

Be sure to use outdoor rated cords, timers, lights, etc. for outdoor applications.  Only use outdoor rated items outside. Enjoy your decorations and have a Merry Christmas!