United Illuminating, a subsidiary of AVANGRID Inc. (NYSE: AGR), reminds customers to follow some simple electrical safety and efficiency tips to ensure this holiday season is filled with safety, comfort and joy. “The holidays are a time for celebration, and you can help keep the holidays joyful by acting now to head off preventable accidents and bill surprises,” said Joe Thomas, UI’s Vice President for Electric System Operations. “A warm, safe home is the greatest gift for our families and friends as we gather for the holidays.” UI offers the following tips to help customers keep their homes safe, warm and energy efficient as they “deck the halls” for the holidays.
- Dry Christmas tree limbs and hot lights can be a dangerous combination. If you have a live tree, keep it fresh. Before you put the tree in its stand, cut its base at a 45-degree angle so it can absorb more water. Water the tree liberally — the average tree can consume between a quart and a gallon of water a day. Remove the tree promptly after the holiday, or when it becomes dry.
- Consider using LED lights, which produce less heat and use less energy than traditional decorative lights. The cooler-burning LEDs can help reduce the drying effect on the tree.
- All lights and cords should be factory tested; check for the UL label on the packaging. Carefully inspect cords, plugs and receptacles for worn or frayed insulation and loose connections. Throw away damaged items.
- Keep wires away from toddlers and pets. Push wires toward the center of the tree, and clip them securely to the branches.
- Make sure cords are tucked away safely to prevent anyone from tripping over them. However, never run cords under rugs, since they can overheat.
- Keep flammable decorations away from the tree’s lights. Also make sure that electric window candles do not touch drapes or other flammable objects.
- Never use electric lights on metallic trees. Avoid using plastic trees unless they’re flame resistant.
- Turn holiday lights off before going to sleep and when you leave home. Consider using a programmable timer to turn lighting displays on and off automatically.
- Avoid overloading electrical circuits or extension cords. Follow the directions on cord labels regarding connecting light strings and extension cords. If a cord feels hot to the touch, it is overloaded and can cause an electrical fire.
Around the House:
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries as necessary.
- Plan escape routes for your family in case of a fire or other emergency.
- In the kitchen, keep close watch on your stovetop, grill and oven while in use. Never use them for heating.
- While decorating the outside of your home, look up and around the area first to identify overhead lines and other hazards.
- Never raise ladders, poles or other extended objects into or near power lines. Check to make sure any tree limbs you may come into contact with aren’t near power lines. Remember: no power line is safe to touch, ever.
- Use only outdoor-approved lights that can withstand cold temperatures, and inspect them for damage.
Customers can monitor their holiday energy use during the holidays or year-round with UI’s free Energy Analyzer. For information or to sign up, visit http://www.uinet.com. Be sure to follow @UnitedIllum on Twitter and “like” UI on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/unitedilluminating.