Nov 24, 2010
As colder weather and seasonal activities increase demand for electric service, a few extra steps can help make ensure this festive season can be safe and less costly around the home. PPL Electric Utilities offers tips for bargain hunters and those who love dazzling decorations and sparkling lights for the holidays.
Statistics show incidents of home fires and electrical accidents typically increase during the winter holidays, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. Each year, falls associated with holiday decorations send about 5,800 people to hospital emergency rooms. In addition, 3,300 house fires originate from extension cords.
PPL Electric Utilities said this checklist can be used to help you be ready for the holidays:
1. Fire safety: Test your smoke alarms and make sure your house is protected by working alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home. Keep halls, stairs and doorways properly illuminated and free of clutter and other objects that could hinder an escape during an emergency. Use nightlights in hallways and bathrooms. Make certain smoke detectors are working properly. Make sure a working fire extinguisher is on hand, and know how to operate it. Be sure everyone knows how to respond in case of an electrical accident or fire.
2. Decorating safety: Seasonal lights are beginning to appear on area homes, and the decorative lights increase the chances for electrical hazards.
3. Heating equipment safety: Space heaters are increasingly popular for supplemental heating and can be helpful to heat up a room or area when the weather gets frosty. However, space heaters cause thousands of household fires every year. Give space heaters space – keeping them at least three feet from anything that can burn, such as draperies or blankets. Keep them out of high-traffic areas and always place them on a level, solid surface. Never use extension cords or multiple plugs with a space heater to reduce the chance for electrical overloads. And never leave a space heater unattended. Be sure pets and children are kept away to avoid injury from contact. Always get your house heating system cleaned and inspected at least every two years by a licensed, professional contractor.
4. Electrical safety: Outdoor outlets should be protected with GFCIs to avoid electrical shock. Avoid overloading electrical outlets. Check outlets regularly for problems, including overheating, loose connections and corrosion. Inspect all electrical plugs and cords. They usually deteriorate gradually, making damage difficult to detect. Make sure they are not frayed or cracked, placed under carpets or rugs, or located in high traffic areas. Do not nail or staple them to walls, floors or other objects.
5. Cooking safety. As you bring out the electric mixers, slow cookers, turkey roasters and food warmers to prepare for holiday baking and entertaining, never plug more than one high-wattage appliance into a single outlet. Match plugs with outlets. Don't force a 3-pronged plug into a 2-pronged outlet or extension cord. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S., according to the National Fire Prevention Association. When cooking for holiday visitors, remember to keep an eye on what you are doing. Turn off burners if you have to leave the room. Keep towels, potholders and curtains away from hot surfaces. Watch for loose clothing that can catch fire. Move appliance cords away from hot surfaces where they can melt or burn from excess heat.
Overloaded electrical systems can be a dangerous prelude to fire. Dimming lights when an appliance goes on, slow-heating appliances, fuses blowing or circuits tripping frequently are signals of overloaded circuits. When electrical outlets or circuits become overloaded, unplug appliances from the outlet and contact an electrician if necessary. Overloaded outlets and circuits generate heat in undetectable amounts; the wear on the internal wiring system can ignite a fire.
For energy savings this holiday season and all winter long:
For information on E-power programs that can help you save even more money with these energy efficiency tips, visit
PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), provides electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania and has consistently ranked among the best companies for customer service in the United States. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.