Consumer Reports: Smart and safe holiday lights
Maybe your house doesn’t shine as bright as the Griswold’s this time of year (remember those National Lampoon movies?), but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring some holiday cheer to the block. Just remember to do it safely. Consumer Reports shares some tips and tech to ensure that your home stays bright, beautiful, and safe.
As the holiday season approaches, families are getting ready to turn their home into a winter wonderland. And while this time of year is filled with lights and decorations, too often it can also include fires.
December is a leading month for home fires, and those involving Christmas trees and decorations can be especially damaging and deadly. So it’s important to always make sure you have working smoke detectors. Consumer Reports recommends the First Alert 3120B and the Kidde P12010.
Before decorating, inspect all of your lights, extension cords, and plugs to make sure they are in good condition. Only use outdoor extension cords and decorations outside and indoor ones inside.
Never overload your outlets because it can cause electrical fires. And always unplug all of your holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
The simplest way to control your holiday lights is with a smart plug. They’re affordable, and they work with popular home assistants like Alexa and Google Home. They’re really simple to set up so that they turn on and off at specific times. Some smart plugs even offer safety alerts and energy-monitoring features.
For outdoor lighting, choose a smart plug specifically rated for outdoors, like one from Amazon Basics for about $24.
And be careful when you’re hanging those holiday lights. Each year, almost 6,000 people go to emergency rooms because of injuries from falls putting up holiday decorations. So before you climb, put on sturdy shoes and check your ladder for loose parts, sharp edges, or bent rungs.
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