Safety and economy
Whether you prefer a flashy Frosty the Snowman for the front lawn or a 10-foot-tall blue spruce for the family room, everyone wants to keep holiday electric bills at a minimum. According to the Web site of the Alliance to Save Energy, keeping holiday lighting bills at a minimum is not an impossible feat, as long as you use a little restraint and common sense. Follow these tips to keep costs low:
For both economic and safety reasons, turn lights off while away and unplug lights before bed.
Operate lights no more than six hours per day. If you burn lights for 24 hours per day, you will spend four times the money.
Don't go wild. You don't really need a yard cluttered with a herd of reindeer, a Santa and Mrs. Claus, two snowmen and a manger scene.
Icicle lights, though pretty, use more energy per linear foot than regular strands of lights, so make your selections accordingly.
Take lights down after Christmas. You don't need to light up the night well into February, do you?
And for safety's sake:
Don't overload electrical circuits. Check your fuse or circuit breaker panel to see how much your home can handle.
For outdoor lights, use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter on each circuit. These automatically shut off currents when trouble is detected.
Cover outdoor plugs and connector joints with water-resistant electrical tape.
Make sure your lights have a safety listing from Underwriter's Laboratories (a UL symbol).
To prevent electrical shock, never use electric d & eacute;cor on artificial trees with metallic needles or branches. Instead, place a colored spotlight above the tree.
Protect little fingers from shock -- make sure there's a bulb in every socket.

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