Outdoor Electrical Safety for Halloween
October 6, 2017
It seems like every year outdoor Halloween decorations get bigger and more elaborate. Inflatable spooks, animatronic goblins, projected ghosts and dancing lights have become the norm in yards across Florida and the U.S. While these eye-catching decorations make the season even more festive, they also create more electrical hazards for households and neighborhoods. In addition to the safety precautions that we impose on our kids before trick-or-treating, electrical safety should also be emphasized – for the entire family. Your yard decorations will be up all month, so ensuring they are safely placed, installed and secured is essential. Help keep the horror shenanigans hazard-free by following these outdoor electrical safety tips brought to you by the professional electricians at Electric Today.
When purchasing lights for your home, the first important rule is to make sure they are designed for outdoor use. Check the box to verify they are designated either indoor or indoor/outdoor. Indoor lights are not weather proof and could easily short circuit if exposed to the elements. Also, make sure that any extension cords have a safe, secure connection and are installed in away from heavily trafficked areas.
Kids love the giant (and not-so-giant) inflatable characters that seen to grow every year in popularity. If you plan on accenting your yard with inflatable decorations this year, pay close attention to the safety and installation instructions. Keep them far from the sidewalk, trees and areas of the yard where kids might frequent. Most inflatables require small stakes to keep them down. Make sure that they are installed properly and placed where people won’t trip over them. Keep the cords close to the ground and as close to the electrical outlet as possible.
Animatronic and moving décor is very popular, but be mindful of placement – especially in the front yard. Small children love touching moving objects, so decorations that have elaborate movement will need to be supervised when turned on. A child might get hurt by a moving part – or could trip if they run away in surprise. In addition, keep your yard mowed and free from debris. The extra foot traffic that yard decorations attract will require an unencumbered surface area; especially at night.
Projectors and Lights Shows
There are several different designs for scary projections; some of them are extremely elaborate. If you are planning on using a design that is installed on the lawn (to project onto the house), be careful where you place it. Some designs are small and difficult to see at night. Setting a bigger, stationary decoration (like a plastic pumpkin) next to it so no one accidentally trips over it is recommended. Consider getting a projector for home interior windows. These designs are placed inside the house, away from the public, with the image projected onto a window or curtain.
Stay away from yard decorations that are dark, especially designs that require a stake into the ground. Decorations that are easily visible at night are ideal for Halloween yards. If you already have dark décor placed about, buy some flameless candles to illuminate them. Try to keep your yard well lit – especially during the official trick-or-treat night in your neighborhood.
Extension Cord Safety
Many of the new yard décor designs require electricity for them to operate. If you need to use extension cords, keep them secured safely to the ground or hidden in areas where they are unlikely to trip people. Never connect two extension cords together as this is a safety hazard. If the extension cord is not long enough to facilitate the decoration, either move the decoration closer to the electricity source or buy a longer cord.
Electric Today would like to wish all our Tampa Bay neighbors a happy and safe Halloween season. Don’t be afraid to call us for any of your electrical projects. We can assist with home lighting, surge protection solutions, wiring projects and much more. Call us at 813-653-4221 to schedule an appointment today!