The temperatures are dropping, snow is accumulating, and everyone is eating their weight in cookies. This can only mean one thing…the holidays are here! As we string our festive lights and turn up the heat in an attempt to stay warm, we sometimes fail to realize how much we are actually spending on energy.
Lucky for us, NYSEG, RG&E and National Grid have each provided simple ways for us to safely monitor and adjust our holiday energy consumption. President of NYSEG and RG&E Mark Lynch shared some encouraging words: “regardless of the magnitude of holiday decorations, we encourage our customers to put safety first. In particular, please ensure that all electrical components are approved by Underwriters Laboratories or another recognized testing organization and are in good condition. We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.”
When it comes to holiday lighting, NYSEG and RG&E have provided an excellent list of pointers, while National Grid has supplied valuable information on heating safety. For your convenience, we will go over a few of those helpful tips here.
Before putting up your holiday lights for the neighborhood to see, carefully inspect all cords and plugs. If they are worn or frayed, throw them away. These tend to be a major fire hazard. For outdoor lighting, make sure you use lights and extension cords that are meant for outdoor use, and be careful not to overload the electrical circuits. While you’re at it, lights on outdoor trees should be secured to the branches while keeping the cords at the center of the tree.
As you move your decorating efforts inside, consider using miniature lights since they produce much less heat (and use less energy!). If you wish to take it a step further, use light emitting diodes (LEDs). These use 90 percent less energy than incandescents but still produce the same amount of light needed to create magazine-worthy displays. One of the most useful tips would be to set all of your lights on programmable timers. They will turn your light displays on and off at the same time every day to avoid wasting precious energy.
Lighting is not the only topic discussed on these lists. National Grid describes how you can stay warm and be safe at the same time. Space heaters are nifty little contraptions that many people use to heat small areas. When using one, make sure it is at least three feet away from anything flammable. Never refuel a space heater while it is still in use, and only do this outside after the device has cooled completely. If you use an electric space heater, plug it directly into an outlet and not in an extension cord.
National Grid recommends that every home and business install a carbon monoxide alarm while following the manufacturer’s recommendations for correct placement. Finally, never, under any circumstances, use a generator inside. They must only be operated outdoor and at a safe distance from any building.
If these guidelines are properly executed, you and your family are sure to have a memorable and safe holiday season. Enjoy!
Energy Curtailment Specialists, Inc.