As we get closer to Halloween, you may be thinking about setting up this year's display. Whether it be animatronic ghouls, spooky lights, or awesome effects, it's important to set everything up with safety in mind. By auditing your Halloween decoration safety now, you can help to ensure your decorations, your property, and your guests have a fun and safe holiday. With that in mind, here are few tips for setting up that award-winning spooky display!
We've all seen it during the decoration-heavy holidays: daisy-chained extension cords across yards and over rooves. While in the moment this may seem like a clever way to solve problems, daisy-chaining extension cables poses a risk for overheating, overloaded circuits, and fire risk. When using an extension cord to relocate power taps to areas away from your home, be sure to use a single cord that is the correct length and is rated for outdoor use. Outdoor extension cords have special insulation and protection from the elements.
When connecting Halloween decorations to outdoor outlets, it's important that those connections are safe against inclement weather, falling leaves, and other natural outdoor factors that could lead to an unexpected short circuit. For strings of lights that terminate in a socket, ensure that an open socket is covered up with electrical tape, or the connection of a run of lights is wrapped in electrical tape to keep the connection tight and keep unwanted elements away. It's important to use electrical tape, rather than duct tape, because the PVC backing of electrical tape helps to insulate the connection. Certain other tapes, such as duct tape, can dry out and even catch fire in the presence of charged electrical wiring.
If you're living in a house with outdoor sockets, it's important that those electrical sockets are outdoor-rated GFCI outlets, and ideally should have waterproof covers or gaskets. A ground-fault circuit interrupter is a type of circuit breaker that will react quickly in case the hot connection of your wiring breaks its normal pathway and travels straight to the earth. These outlets are especially important for preventing fatal injuries in the case of a person experiencing an electrical shock. For older homes that do not have outdoor outlets, you may be tempted to trail an extension cord from inside to the outside. This is not recommended, as it could lead to a plethora of safety issues.
If you're setting up Halloween decorations outside your home, you're likely expecting a lot of foot traffic from families walking up and down your path and enjoying your Halloween display. For this reason, it's essential to ensure that trailing cables are kept away from walking paths and high-traffic areas. In addition to trip hazards potentially harming your guests, tripping on cables can loosen connections or damage the wire insulation, creating risks of fire.
One of the easiest and most important things to do before setting up any lighting or electronic decorations is to inspect all wiring before setting it up. Be sure that insulation is not frayed, cracked, or otherwise damaged, and that there are no broken lights on strings. Make sure to make the same checks as you begin to store your decorations for next year – after all, identifying broken decorations now means you can take advantage of all the decorations on clearance!
Are you looking to bolster your electrical infrastructure before the winter months hit? Contact H&H Electric today!