Electrical Safety and the Holiday Season
Outdoor decorations have been taken to a whole new level in recent years. From 12' tall skeletons and inflatables, whole yard displays, to projectors that turn your entire home into a theater like screen of a winter wonderland. What does it all have in common? IT ALL RUNS ON ELECTRICITY. Lets start at the source shall we. Your home's electrical panel.
Is it less than 20 - 30 years old? If the answer is no, perhaps it is time to have it evaluated. Many changes have happened in the last 2 or 3 decades regarding safety guidelines for your home's main power distribution (Your electrical panel). The National Electrical Code is updated and revised every 3 years to include safety standards to prevent from the risk of electrical shock or fire. Grounding and bonding standards have been updated and improved significantly for safety reasons and concerns.
Now lets move on to the outlets that you use for all of your plug in holiday decorations. Are they GFCI protected? GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. These are the outlets that have the little test and reset buttons. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters or "GFIs" are required anywhere that electricity can possibly come in contact with water. This includes Kitchens, baths, laundry rooms, basements, and of course outside outlets. On the exterior of the home, GFI receptacles are also required to have a bubble cover. This allows you to have something plugged in and have a dome or "bubble" covering not only the plug in the outlet, but also the other open outlet covered and protected from the elements.
Finally we need to discuss extension cords, splitters, and outdoor cord covers. Are your extension cords rated for outdoor use? It will say so on the white tag near the plug (Rated for indoor and outdoor use). Are they completely in tact and in like new condition? If your cord has one of the three prongs broken off, it IS NOT GROUNDED. If it has been cut or nicked and then taped up in any way, how can you trust it to be safe? Exposed wiring on extension cords can cause electrical shock or worse. Outdoor cord covers are used where your lights or displays plug into the extension cords and protect this connection from the elements.
Please be safe this holiday season and all year round. If you are unsure about any of the topics above or need to have any of the above topics addressed, we would be happy to offer safe and cost effective solutions for your family and your home.
The Donatello Electric Team