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Energy-Efficient Holiday Decorating

Here are our best tips for lighting up your home safely while keeping your energy bills in check. 

We’re shedding some light on easy ways you can make your holidays a little brighter. Even with state-of-the-art lighting and decor, there are several safety precautions you should take to minimize the risk of fire, electric shock, tripping, and other hazards. Here are our best tips for lighting up your home safely while keeping your energy bills in check!

Out with the old string lights

When you want to make your home merry and bright, there's no better way than stringing up the holiday lights. But if your lights are old, it may be time for an upgrade. Newer decorations are not only more energy efficient, they're safer too.

Break out your fine-toothed comb

Before plugging anything in, unpack all of your holiday lights and electric decorations and carefully inspect every piece. You're looking for frayed wires, melted plastic, scorch marks, and any other signs of damage. If you find this type of damage, it's almost always best to discard the entire string or piece. Professional repairs are usually impractical and it's never worth the risk to try to patch lights with electrical tape or make other modifications.

Give it a test run

Once you've deemed a piece to be damage-free, plug it in to make sure it's working properly. Check every light and tighten or replace loose or burned out lights as you go. If your string of lights is a dud, you'll want to figure it out before you spend time putting it up!

Retire the antiques

Vintage holiday decorations have a certain charm, but when it comes to plugs and wires, age increases the chances of a dangerous malfunction. Newer holiday lights are safer in more than one way. With fewer holidays under their belt, they're less likely to have damage from age and wear. Most new lights are LEDs, which remain cool to the touch, unlike incandescent bulbs. LED lights are also far more energy efficient than incandescent, helping to keep your wintertime energy bills under control.

Check your rating

Holiday lights and plug-in decorations are rated for indoor use, outdoor use, or dual use. Lights rated for outdoor use are tested to ensure they can withstand wet, cold conditions, while those rated for indoor use are not. The same goes for extension cords: if you need to use them outdoors, make sure you're using thick, heavy cords that are rated for outdoor use. 

Prevent electric shock

Not only should your outdoor decorations be rated for outdoor use, they should always be plugged into ground fault circuit interrupter outlets or GFCIs. These outlets are easy to recognize by the reset buttons you'll see in the middle. GFCIs reduce the risk of electric shock by automatically interrupting the circuit as soon as a fault is detected and they're especially important in areas where water is present, like kitchens, bathrooms, and the outdoors.

If you connect it, protect it

Your lighting design may require you to connect strings of lights or extension cords in areas where they could get wet from rain or snow. It's important to keep these connections dry and there are several simple ways to do this. You can buy plastic connection covers that are designed for this exact purpose.

Watch those wires

To avoid tripping hazards, make sure there are no lights or extension cords crossing walking paths. If you absolutely must run an extension cord across a walking surface, make sure it's a heavy duty outdoor-rated cord and that you cover it with a durable floor cord protector, to form a ramp over the cord.

 Stay safe and happy decorating!

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*Repair claims are limited to $500 per service call and $2,000 per plan in the aggregate per plan term. Plans are provided by NRG Protects Inc. Independent contractors will be performing various services under the plans. In some instances we may make a cash payment in lieu of repairs or replacement in the amount of actual cost, which may be less than retail, to repair or replace any covered system, component, or appliance.

**If your authorized repair technician determines that the water heater is deemed irreparable, we will give you a credit of $500 towards a replacement water heater by your authorized repair technician.

Once repair plans commence, there is a 30-day waiting period before you may request services for a claim. Unless the plan provider elects not to renew the plan, upon expiration of the first year, the plan will automatically renew at the standard rate and terms unless you opt out of the auto-renewal option in writing by mail at P.O. Box 2309, Houston, TX 77252- 2309, by email at or by calling us at 1.855.241.9094. Sales tax will be added in select states.

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