Friday, November 15, 2013

Holiday decorating: Lighting up safely

The holiday season is upon us once again. As we all know, in the Philippines, it’s a much longer period of anticipatory celebration before the main events: Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Come October, Christmas carols can be heard in radio stations, in malls, and even in office elevators; and by November, holiday décor will slowly but surely make its appearance in both public areas and in homes.

Steer clear of electrical overload. Use extension cords accordingly and avoid octopus connections.

While the season is the merriest of the year, faulty holiday decorating has led to many mishaps and tragedies in the past. To keep the holidays happy, let’s put some important decorating safety rules into practice.

Some of the most common and disturbing issues related to holiday decorating are electrical in nature. The worst of these, of course, are fires. Christmas string lights being the go-to ornament for the holidays, they rank very high in the list of culprits.

To help us prepare for holiday decorating, we’ve compiled some tips along with the consumer’s safety guide released by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the season.

  • Buy string lights and similar products only from reputable sellers and check if they have been certified by the DTI. These will sport the Philippine Standard (PS) symbol for locally made products and the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) symbol for imported items.
     
  • When checking ICC markings, make sure to examine the year of issue. Some materials used in Christmas string lights, such as its plastic or PVC components, deteriorate over time and only have a shelf life of about three years.
     
  • If you’re reusing an older set of lights, make sure that it’s in good condition. Check the lights for stripped or frayed wires and damaged sockets; those are not safe for use and should be discarded. Replace burnt out bulbs and only use the same type and wattage.
     
  • Before linking several strands of string lights, find out the listed string wattage (how many you can connect together before you blow a fuse); this is usually indicated in the packaging. Wattage will vary depending on brand and type of lights, e.g. mini lights vs. LED lights.
     
  • Make sure to use only outdoor string lights that are rated for such use.
     
  • Plan your lighting placement and other decorations. If you’re using string lights on a Christmas tree, place it  near an outlet and away from doorways and other high traffic, narrow areas.
     
  • Secure your string lights with electrical tape or plastic hooks and clips to keep them from flailing about, drooping or falling off. You can also use metallic nails, staples, and hooks but be aware that these are electrical conductors and may pose a danger in case the wires get damaged. What's more, your home will be left with unattractive holes when it’s time to take the Christmas decorations down.
     
  • Steer clear of electrical overload. Use extension cords accordingly and avoid octopus connections. Extensions come in different sizes and capacities; do not overload them by plugging in too many lights and electrical decorations. Again, if you’re using them outside the house, see if they’re rated for outdoor use. 

Previous Next

Share
Email

Top Articles

Small spaces: Decor t...
Need a little more leg space in your living room? Use scaled-down sofas, arrang...
Home decor: Tips to c...
Even if you’re on a tight budget, it’s possible to completely transform a room ...
Buying Lots in Valenz...
Our partner is buying several properties in areas in Valenzuela, Quezon City, B...
Tips for designing th...
With imagination and clever design, you can encourage your family to spend more...
Buying Lots in QC, Va...
Our partner is buying several properties in Quezon City, as well as the cities ...
More property news...