CAYCE, S.C. (Nov. 23, 2016) - More than 86 percent of Americans decorate their homes as part of their winter holiday celebrations, according to a recent consumer survey from ESFI (Electrical Safety Foundation International). With much of that beginning shortly after Thanksgiving, SCE&G is offering customers some tips for staying safe and saving energy when decorating this holiday season.
“Holiday lighting certainly adds to the wonder of the season, but safety always needs to be your number one priority,” said Bill Turner, vice president of electric operations for SCE&G. He said a thorough inspection of holiday lights is a good first step.
“Don’t use lights with broken bulbs or sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections. And never connect more than three strands of incandescent lights together,” Turner said.
Customers can cut down on their energy use during the holidays by making smart lighting choices.
“Probably the biggest tip to save money with holiday decorating would be to replace those old incandescent lights with LED light strands,” said Ginger Greenway, manager of energy information services for SCE&G. “LED lighting is also cooler than incandescent bulbs, lowering the risk of fire and personal injury. And setting your lights on a timer, so they only burn at times when you’ll enjoy looking at them, is a great way to save energy.”
Here are SCE&G’s top tips for holiday lighting safety and energy savings:
- Plan ahead: Arrange your decorations so that no outlet is overloaded and no cords will be pinched by furniture or positioned under rugs.
- Read the labels: Be sure to check each product label or packaging to see whether the lights are intended for indoor or outdoor use. Make sure lights have a tag indicating they have been evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Use GFCI outlets: Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). How do you know if it’s a GFCI? Look for the “test” and “reset” buttons. If circuits are not GFCI-protected, portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased.
- Buy LED lights: Replace your old, inefficient twinkle light strands with bright LED lights, which use about 70 percent less energy than traditional bulbs and last about 10 times longer. And if you prefer the softer look of incandescent lights, look for LED lights labeled "warm" white.
- Find coupons: Look for rebates and seasonal coupons on energy-efficient lights at your local hardware and department stores.
- Limit usage: Set timers for lights to turn on and off automatically. Keep light displays on during the evening and turn them off over night.
- Get reflective: Shiny ornaments, tinsel and mirrors can multiply the effects of your lighting without using more energy.
South Carolina Electric & Gas Company is a regulated public utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 707,000 customers in 24 counties in the central, southern and southwestern portions of South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 353,000 customers in 38 counties in the state.