Holiday decorating tips

Keep you and your loved ones safe, and power the holidays for less jingle. 

Video: Holiday Lighting

Decorating the right way

  • Check for cracked or loose sockets and connections, exposed wires and frayed, broken or scorched insulation before plugging in any lights – old or new. Throw away any strings showing flaws.
  • Put lights on a nonflammable surface and plug them in for 10 – 15 minutes to check for melting, smoking or overheating. 
  • Make sure your lights are safety certified. Look for a label that says "Underwriters Laboratories Approved" or "UL Listed."
  • Protect small children and pets by using plastic safety covers on all unused outlets and keeping cords out of sight and reach. A cord as short as 12 inches can strangle a child.
  • Water your real Christmas tree every day, and keep light strings from coming into direct contact with branches. If you have an artificial tree, make sure it's fire-retardant.
  • Make sure the lights and extension cords you use outside are certified for outdoor use and are plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet.
  • Keep decorations and ladders away from overhead electrical lights and power lines.
  • Follow the manufacturer's guidelines on how many strings of lights can be safely connected together.

Decorating the wrong way

  • Don't leave lights on while you're sleeping or away from home. If you tend to forget, use a timer.
  • Don't plug more than three light strings into an extension cord.
  • Don't use metal staples or nails as fasteners for lights. This can damage the protective insulation covering the wires.
  • Don't leave extension cords out in the open and/or at levels where small children or pets can come in contact with or chew on them.
  • Don't run extension cords across sidewalks or driveways.

Power your holiday for less jingle!

Set back the thermostat

Lower the temperature of your thermostat 10 degrees for at least eight hours a day. An easy way is to lower the temperature while you’re sleeping or at work. You can save up to 10% on your energy bills, without sacrificing comfort.

Switch to LEDs

Light emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) last ten times longer than ordinary bulbs and use significantly less energy. Don’t forget about LED holiday lights. They use 90% less energy than regular holiday lights and last for multiple seasons. Check out lighting safety tips below.

Set it and forget it

Use timers for your holiday lights. They allow you to set the holiday lights to come on when it gets dark and go off around bed time.

Add insulation in the attic

Adding additional insulation from three to 12 inches can cut your heating bill by up to 20%.

Check the furnace filter

Failing to clean or replace a filter can make the furnace run harder, which reduces its efficiency and life span and increases service calls. Make sure you change or check your furnace filter monthly, especially during the winter months. 

Weatherize doors and windows

A few inexpensive tubes of caulk and rolls of weather stripping can help reduce heating bills by 20%. Start with your draftiest windows and work your way around the house to stop cold air from leaking into your house. 

Give appliances a vacation too

Before you leave on a trip, turn off and unplug everything you can, lower your thermostat to 55 degrees, and set your water heater to the lowest setting. 

Recent stories from our blog