Detroit Edison's safety tips on holiday lights and decoration
It is important to read the safety, use and care instructions of electrical holiday decorations currently on the market.
With the holiday season under way, Detroit Edison reminds customers that a quick check of electric lights and decorations before installation can provide peace of mind and a safe holiday season.
"Safety should be the first priority when installing holiday lights," said Larry Kaufman, DTE Energy's energy efficiency expert. "Just because lights worked effectively last year does not mean that they shouldn't be inspected this year. A few minutes spent checking cords and plugs for potential hazards reduce the possibility of a fire."
Every year, tragedy strikes during the holiday season when house fires start because of faulty or damaged electrical cords and improper use of electrical outlets and electrical decorations. Home decorators should use lights only as directed by the manufacturer. Lights should be thrown away if they have frayed wires, damaged sockets or cracked or missing insulation.
Check for the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label before stringing lights and setting up other decorations. This label indicates the product has been tested by UL engineers for foreseeable safety hazards such as fire and electric shock. Remember also to check the color of the UL label. Indoor-use only light strings are marked with the UL's green holographic label, and light strings for indoor and outdoor use have the UL's red holographic label.
Seasonal lighting is an inexpensive way to put a sparkle in the holidays. Most lights cost from less than one cent to 7.5 cents per string to operate for six hours, depending on the wattage. For lights that blink on and off, the cost is halved. New LED holiday lights are on the market now that can cut lighting costs even more.
ENERGY STAR qualified light strings consume 75 percent less energy and can last 10 times longer than conventional incandescent light strands.
"Decorative LED lights are safer, too," noted Kaufman. "They're cool to the touch, reducing the risk of fire, and have no moving parts, filaments or glass, so they're much more durable and shock-resistant than other light strings."
Detroit Edison offers these additional tips for keeping the holidays safe:
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