Fine Print: Stay safe and save money with holiday lighting
Today's holiday lights aren't the same energy-sucking bulbs that our parents used when we were kids. Miniature holiday lights have largely replaced the big bulbs as a popular way to illuminate holiday decorations.
But NStar, the Boston-based electric utility company, says there are still plenty of ways to make hanging your Christmas displays a more safe and less expensive experience.
- NStar suggests using Light Emitting Diodes instead of bulbs. LED lights tend to be more expensive than traditional lights, but they use 90 percent less energy and are more durable. Operating 10 strings of mini-LED lights compared with 10 strings of standard mini-lights can save $12 in energy costs in one month.
- Use timers to control when the lights go on and off. Making sure the decorations are off before leaving home or going to bed is both a safe and energy-efficient practice.
- Be sure that electrical circuits and extension cords are properly rated and not overloaded.
- Make sure the lights and electric decorations you use carry the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety label.
- Before you reuse last year's lights, inspect them for any damage to wires or sockets.
- Always unplug a light string or decoration before replacing fuses or bulbs.
- To avoid overheating or damage to electrical cords, never run the cords under rugs.
- Be cautious about overhead power lines when raising or climbing a ladder outside.
- Use only lighting and extension cords that are approved for outdoor use when decorating outside.
- Plug outdoor lights and decorations into outlets protected by ground fault circuit interrupters. These devices protect against fatal electric shocks and help prevent fires from being started by faulty wiring.
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