Fall is here, and that means winter is just around the corner! By now you’ve most likely decorated the house with pumpkins, autumn-colored leaves, and friendly harvest items. But once these are put away come late November, it will be time to string up the lights and decorate the Christmas tree!
It seems only appropriate to share with first-time and seasoned home buyers alike the dangers and safety tips to keep in mind while embellishing your home and trimming your tree.
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!
Whether you are in California, Texas, or New York, the glory of today’s inventions is that anyone can enjoy snow during the holidays! Artificial snow can do wonders to turning an average home into a winter wonderland, but please keep in mind that these snow sprays can irritate the lungs and cause damage to breathing if inhaled. Make sure that you are spraying in an open area, and read the directions carefully.
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
In the spirit of Christmas, one can see Christmas trees everywhere, it seems. A tree seems to be that necessary adornment in a home to celebrate the holidays, and can create warm memories around Christmas time, so long as proper precautions are taken. Please keep in mind the following when finding a tree for your home:
– If you’re going to opt for the artificial tree option, make sure that the label on the tree reads that it is certified nonflammable.
– Should you choose a fresh tree, check that the tree is indeed fresh and is not already drying out. A few good tactics to verify a fresh tree include testing that the needles on the tree do not break when bent and do not pull out easily when tugged on. The trunk of the tree should be sticky with resin. Furthermore, when the trunk butt is bounced off the ground, needles should not shower down.
– Place your tree away from fireplaces and other heated sources. The hotter the surrounding environment of a tree, the quicker it will dry out.
– Cut a few inches off the trunk of the tree to expose fresh wood, allowing for better water absorption. Place the trunk in a water-holding stand, which will hydrate the tree and keep it fresh longer.
– Never, under any circumstances, use electric lights directly on a metallic tree. In doing so, the tree generates and becomes charged with electricity. Should someone happen to touch the tree while the electrical current is running through it, they could be electrocuted! Instead, place spotlights on the ground or above the tree, but never let lights have direct contact.
Twinkle, Twinkle Christmas Lights
One of the most important steps to ensuring a safely decorated home is to perform routine maintenance on your holiday lights. Before hanging, check that the string set is not frayed, cracked, or weather-damaged. When in doubt, should you find anything wrong with the cord and/or socket, discard the lights and purchase new ones. While this may seem like a hassle, this move can save you and your family from a significant fire risk.
When hanging lights, no more than three strands should be strung together at a time. Combining more poses a great fire risk. Be sure to keep all electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal rain gutters. Also, strands should be hung with either plastic hanger hooks or insulated tapes, never with nails or staples. Using the latter will puncture the wire and can, again, create a fire risk.
It is also worthy to mention that one should never use indoor lights outdoors, as they may not be able to handle the weather elements. Similarly, outdoor lights should not be used indoors, as their heat is too strong to be contained inside a home.
Lastly, always turn off your decorative lights when going to sleep or when leaving the house. If you have trouble remembering this task, it may be in your interest to purchase a timer. Doing so may have great benefits on your electricity costs.
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
In leading up to the holidays and the cooler weather that allows for more frequent use of the fireplace, make sure to have your chimney cleaned and/or swept. In general, a chimney should undergo maintenance at least once a year before use. (If you’re new to Texas, The Chimney Sweep serves Alan, Plano, Richardson, Dallas, and surrounding cities!)
When using fire salts (the powder substance that produces colored flames when thrown into an already-lit fire), do so carefully. Keep the salts out of reach of children, as they contain chemicals which can cause gastrointestinal irritation and produce vomiting if swallowed.
Finally, do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. The color used on wrapping paper is commonly produced by dyes which are not safe to inhale when burned. Furthermore, the chemicals on wrapping paper cause it to ignite suddenly and burn intensely. By placing this product in a fire, one could potentially cause a flash fire.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
With these thoughts in mind, we hope you will get creative in your holiday decorating process, but do so safely! Enjoy your home during the holidays, and we sincerely hope that you create lasting memories in your new home this Christmas.
Need to find a new place to call “home” during the Holidays? Let Bill Shields help you! As a Home Buyers’ Agent, Bill Shields is dedicated to helping his clients find the right homes that meets all of their needs right in the DFW Metroplex! Go to Bill Shields’ website and order your FREE orientation pack today!