There are homeowners who set up simple outdoor light displays during the winter holidays, and others who put on a vivid light show. Even if you are in the first group, it is likely that tree lights and other decorations also pressure your fuse box. It is easy to make mistakes that leave your home in the dark. Here are five tips for avoiding blown breakers and a call to an emergency electrician in Alexandria, VA this holiday:
- Know what you are using: There are many gimmicks over the holidays that can wreak havoc on breakers. For example, there are adapters that allow you to plug Christmas lights into your light fixtures. This only works if you do not exceed the wattage limit and make contact with the fixture base. In their enthusiasm, many homeowners plug too many light strings into these fixtures and wind up shorting out their system. To be safe, do not even think about running multiple light strings unless you check the wattage limits first. Running lights to more than one fixture will be less convenient, but it is better than setting your house on fire.
- Check amperage: Your residential electrical system has its limits. Fortunately, the packaging for your lights indicate amperage ratings and wattage. If there is only wattage available, divide that number by 120 to get amperage. That will help you determine how many light strings can plug into one fixture or outlet.
- Be careful when hanging decorations: Other Christmas decorations, like wreaths and banners, are light and temporary. For that reason, many homeowners do not nail hanging hardware into a stud. While the weight may not be an issue four your walls, it is an issue for any wiring running behind them. If you nail into a wire, it becomes a hazard and will trip your breaker. The best way to avoid this scenario is to nail hanging hardware into studs.
- Take power savings measures: Many of the same tips shared for reducing your utility bills can also lower chances of sustaining an outage. Unplug small appliances you are not currently using. Spread out electronics in your home so there are not too many plugged into one outlet or concentrated in one room. Use surge protectors for valuable electronics like large TVs and computers. Microwave ovens are especially demanding on breakers, so consider moving yours into your dining room so it is on a separate circuit from your larger kitchen appliances. Basically, you do not want to concentrate too many items on one circuit.
- Consider LED lights: LED lights are the latest technology in saving electricity and producing soft light in your home. Christmas lights are also offered in LED varieties. They will lighten the load significantly and also reduce the burdens on your breaker box. This can be extremely handy if your outdoor outlets are all on the same circuit.
Walsh Electric offers emergency electrician services in Alexandria, VA if your light display gets out of hand this holiday. Keep our number nearby in case you experience a blown breaker as you celebrate.