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NSTAR Offers Safety Tips for Holiday Decorations

Residents are encouraged to be safe when decorating their homes for the holiday season.

In an effort to help residents across the Commonwealth remain safe during the holiday season, NSTAR released a list of safety tips regarding the use of home decorations.

“Holiday lights have become much more efficient than the older-style bulbs of years past,” said Bill Stack, NSTAR’s energy efficiency spokesman in a statement Wednesday. “With newer technology now available in many more options, today’s lighting displays can help a family save money and energy this holiday season.”

Holiday lights using Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) use 90 percent less energy than traditional bulbs, according to NSTAR, and they’re much more durable and can last years longer. Additionally, operating 10 strings of mini-LED lights compared to 10 strings of standard mini-lights can save nearly $12 in energy costs in one month. 

NSTAR also recommended to customers that a good way to keep bills down without sacrificing the spirit of the season is to use timers to control when the lights go on and off. Doing so before leaving home or going to bed is safe and efficient.  

The following are safety tips NSTAR has offered when decorating one's home:

  • Be sure that electrical circuits and extension cords are properly rated and not overloaded.
  • Use only lights and electric decorations that carry the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety label.
  • Before reusing last year’s lights, inspect them for damage to wires or sockets.
  • Always unplug a light string or decoration before replacing fuses or bulbs.
  • To avoid overheating or damage, never run electrical cords under rugs.
  • Be sure to look for overhead power lines before raising or climbing a ladder outdoors.
  • Use only outdoor-approved lighting and extension cords when decorating outdoors.
  • Plug outdoor lights and decorations into outlets protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
Gerry Pothier November 30, 2012 at 02:42 PM
The NStar rep said all of the right things, but be careful when stringing an outdoor tree with them, if you plan on leaving them up. I risked life and limb throwing strings of LED Christmas lights over the nearly 20-foot tall evergreen in our yard two years ago thinking that this would be the last time I'd have to decorate because everyone knows LEDs last nearly forever. Last year (year 2), prior to the holidays it was evident that something had chewed threw my light strings, as there were several complete breaks in the wiring draped over branches. It seems the squirrels have developed a taste for the insulation on these Chinese-made sets ("mmmmmm.....tastes like Twizzles candy...."). Unfortunately, I won't risk my health by trying to remove and redecorate this tree. I have used the old C9 colored incandescent Christmas sets for years, but of course they need re-lamping on occasion. Nothing ever bit through the wiring on the old ones.
mplo November 30, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Ouch! You're lucky that you weren't electrocuted, or that an electrical fire didn't start as a result of that catastrophe. You're smart not to risk your health and/or life trying to remove the broken-wired lights and redecorate that tree. All the best of luck to you during this holiday season.

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