Lighting Your Tree Without Burning Down Your House

Construction & Contractors Articles

The holiday season is here, and with it comes an increase in the risk of house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas trees are responsible for more than 200 house fires each year. And worse, these fires carry a much higher mortality rate. While one in approximately 144 typical house fires result in death, that number jumps significantly when the Christmas tree is involved—to as high as one out of every 31. Whether this is because Christmas trees tend to catch fire at night is unclear, but the fact remains: putting up a Christmas tree, especially a live one, increases your risk of house fire by a significant percentage. Play it safe this year and talk with your friendly local electrician on the best ways to deck, and not wreck, your halls:

Extension Cords

An extension cord can play a huge role in a house fire, says the Electrical Safety Foundation International. As many as 3,300 house fires each year are attributed to these modern conveniences because they're not used properly. If you're powering up your Christmas tree using one or more extension cords, make sure to play by the rules. Ensure the cord you're using is rated for the purpose you're intending, never hide or obscure extension cords under carpets or inside walls or cabinetry, and never plug in a cord that is damaged or that has been repaired. The economical price of most extension cords make them easy to replace, so choose safety every time.

Smoke Alarms

No house should be without smoke alarms, and this is even more true during the holidays. The temptation to light candles, bake cookies, and plug in a live Christmas tree is greater during the holidays, and any one of these could result in a house fire if left unattended. The NFPA recommends placing working smoke alarms inside every bedroom and outside of every sleeping space on each level of your home. Doing so could help alert you if your tree decides to suddenly combust in the night. And the operative word is "working." Smoke alarms should be tested and the batteries replaced on a regular basis. 

Hydration

Any electrician will tell you that it's a bad idea to place electric lights on an overly dry pine tree. If you choose a live tree over artificial, you should understand the added responsibility of keeping the tree hydrated throughout the season. For best results, don't put living trees up unnecessarily early in the season or keep them up longer than required. Check the water level at the base of your live tree daily, especially if you have indoor pets who might be tempted to take a drink or two. And if you notice needles turning brown or dropping off, it's time to unplug. It goes without saying, as well, that you need to keep all extension and light cords away from the water pan. 

Another, often overlooked, culprit that can dry out your tree prematurely is the heat vent or fireplace. Do your best to position live trees away from direct sources of heat such as these, as they can cause your tree to dry up and die before its time. 

When it's time to string the lights and hang up the tinsel and bows, be a responsible homeowner and follow these tips from an electrician from a company like Lowry Services: Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. They'll help keep you, your family, and your home safe from damage caused by fire and smoke this Christmas. If your home is worth decorating, it's worth decorating correctly. Be smart—don't skimp on safety this holiday season. 

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14 December 2015

Adding a Man Cave to Your Home: Tips

I have always loved baseball, and when the world series arrives each year, I enjoy inviting my friends over to watch the games. As our family grew, it became difficult for all of our guests to fit in our living room. We decided that we needed a dedicated "man cave" in our home, but we didn't have an extra room to build it in. We thought long and hard about how we could add it, but we finally decided to turn our garage into the man cave and have a carport built onto our home to park our cars under. I have always been interested in learning more handy-work, so I enjoyed watching the contractors build both the man cave and car port. I thought I would start a blog to share what I learned during the building process to help other homeowners!