As we decorate our homes and businesses for the holiday season, PG&E reminds customers that holiday lighting can increase the potential for fire risk, injury, and electric shock, so you should follow the proper precautions when decorating. Also, older, non-energy-efficient lighting can severely impact power bills. To ensure that customers remain safe throughout the holiday, PG&E offers the following safety tips to keep in mind as you decorate for the season:
Use LED Holiday Lights
- Light-emitting diode (LED) lights consume 75% less energy than traditional incandescent lights, helping you save money on your power bills during the holiday season.
- LED lights produce almost no heat, making them safe to touch and greatly reducing the risk of fire.
- LED lights are also break resistant and shock resistant.
Avoid Electric Hazards
- Look up and live! Before climbing ladders to string outdoor lights, check for overhead power lines nearby. Be especially aware of lines over your roof and lines attached to your home. Look up before raising ladders and other tall objects. Keep at least 10 feet away from overhead lines at all times.
- Never place yourself or any object such as a string of lights in a position that risks contact with a power line—the result can be fatal.
- Before stringing lights on outdoor trees, make sure tree limbs haven't grown into or near power lines. Branches, entire trees, and even the ground adjacent to a tree can become energized when trees contact power lines.
Prevent Fire Hazards
- Avoid overloading extension cords and wall sockets by following the manufacturer's limits for the number of light strings that can be safely connected together.
- Check all light strands for cracked or broken plugs, frayed insulation, or bare wires. Worn cords can cause fires, so discard any damaged sets of lights.
- Don't place cords under rugs, furniture, or other appliances. If covered, cords can overheat or become frayed, increasing the risk of fire.
- Always turn off decorative lights—indoors and outdoors—when leaving the house and before going to bed.
- Do not place your holiday tree near a heat source such as a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, making it more susceptible to fires caused by heat, flame, or sparks.