HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As many prepare to spread the holiday cheer with Christmas lights and decorations, energy experts want to make sure customers are safe and smart when decorating.
The AEP Texas spokesperson, Eladio Jaimez, said there are several hazards people should not overlook when it comes to decorating for the holidays.
“Make sure that you avoid the small hazards because it can turn into a big hazard,” said Jaimez.
Ensuring your lights and decorations are ready for use is key.
“We ask our customers to inspect their lights, the wires before they hang them up. If they see any frayed wires or exposed wires, we do ask them to toss them out and replace them,” he said.
Jaimez said it is important to be mindful of the placement of your lights.
“Any lighting should be at least three feet away from any heat source, like the fireplace or space heater, that’s always important to avoid that danger,” said Jaimez.
Outdoor lighting should also be inspected and in an area away from moisture.
“When you’re connecting them and they’re outside, we do recommend that they cover them up to avoid getting moisture in that could possibly cause some kind of short,” he said.
Extension cords and strands of lights should be placed away from walkways to avoid trip hazards.
The proper placement and use of the lights are important as some lights are specifically meant for indoor use only.
“We ask them to read the instructions carefully that come on the box, the manufacturer instructions and then follow those instructions because if they follow those instructions that would just automatically be safer use of the product itself,” he said.
Jaimez recommends using LED lights over standard light bulbs because of their energy efficiency and safety.
“LED lights use 80% less electricity than the traditional bulbs on your Christmas lights and they last a lot longer than your traditional bulbs too and they don’t generate as much heat,” he said.