Flatirons Home Inspections would like to offer you these holiday decorating safety tips for the home instead of our weekly column. Quite a few of our daily routines change during the holiday season. Here are a few simple tips help keep our families safe and able to enjoy the season.
If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL)
When displaying a natural tree, cut off about two inches off the trunk and put the tree in a sturdy, water-holding stand. Keep the stand filled with water so the tree does not dry out quickly. If you let the tree stand run dry the trunk will seal up again. While many people opt for using Christmas tree preservatives, studies have shown these additives are totally unnecessary.
Place all trees away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Make sure the tree does not block foot traffic or doorways.
Do not use more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Do not run cords under rugs, around furniture legs or across doorways. Before you string lights on your house or trees, inspect the strands, to make sure there aren’t any frayed cords or cracked bulbs. Also, don’t use indoor lights outside. Check the tag on the string of lights to be sure.
Avoid placing breakable tree ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower branches where small children or pets can reach them.
Decorative holiday plants such as mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis may be poisonous. Keep these plants out of the reach of children and pets.
Never use lighted candles near trees, boughs, curtains/drapes, or with any potentially flammable item.
If you use artificial snow on windows or other surfaces, be sure to follow directions carefully. These sprays can irritate your lungs if you inhale them. Also, don’t use artificial snow in areas that young children or pets can reach.
When displaying outdoor lights, fasten them firmly to a secure support with insulated staples or hooks to avoid wind damage. Never nail, tack or stress wiring when hanging lights and keep plugs off the ground away from puddles and snow. The three sets of lights per extension cord rule also applies here. Hiring a professional to hang outdoor lights is the safest option.
When putting up holiday decorations, always use the proper step stool or ladder to reach high places. Don’t stand on chairs, desks or other furniture.
If you must use a step ladder near a doorway, lock or barricade the door and post signs so no one will open it and knock you off the ladder. Also, never stand on the top of a step ladder, the one that says this is not a step.
Take extra precautions with turkey fryers (be sure the oil used to fry the turkey is the right temperature and always fry outside, in a well-ventilated area.) Don’t use water to extinguish a grease fire — instead, use a fire extinguisher or douse the fire with baking soda.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Flatirons Home Inspections.