At this time of year in Southern California, many of us are just as likely to see a Santa surfing in the sun as we are to see moonlight glistening on icicles. Holiday lights and decorations are a festive way to get into the spirit of the season even without the snow.
The City of Irvine, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company, and the Community Energy Partnership* encourage you to take a few minutes to check your holiday lights and decorations for safety and offer tips to help you save energy during the holidays.
The 10-Minute Holiday Lights Safety Test
Take a close look at your holiday lights, cords, and power strips, and the outlets they’re plugged into, with these questions in mind:
● Are all electrical cords and light strands in good condition? If not, throw them away.
● Are your outlets, extension cords or surge protectors overloaded? Usage should never exceed recommended wattage.
● Are all lights and cords approved by Underwriters Laboratories? UL is an independent, nonprofit organization that tests electrical components and equipment for potential hazards, and the UL mark on products that have been tested, verified and inspected for safety.
● Are all wires free of puncture by staples, tacks or nails? If you need to hang wires or cords, the safe way is to loop a plastic zip tie around the light strand, and secure the zip tie to the wall.
● Can you easily shut off the lights before leaving home? Leaving lights on can present an unnecessary fire hazard.
ENERGY STAR Qualified Decorative Light Strings Save Energy
If all decorative light strings sold in America this year were ENERGY STAR® qualified, we would save over 700 million kWh of electricity per year. Did you know?
● They consume 70% less energy than conventional incandescent lights strands. LED light strands can use up to 90% less energy.
● They can last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent strands.
● They are cool to the touch, reducing the risk of fire.
● Products labeled for outdoor use are subjected to weathering tests.
(Source: US EPA’s ENERGY STAR website)
Leaving Town for the Holidays?
Don’t forget: if you have a gas water heater, turn it to the “Pilot” setting when you go on vacation. If you have an electric water heater, shut it off at the circuit breaker.
* This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by Southern California Gas Company and Southern California Edison under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.