Halloween Decorating 2021: Are Your Electrical Outlets Up To the Challenge?
When the first cold wind blows, excitement for the holiday season begins to stir. Sometimes Christmas ornaments arrive in stores before Thanksgiving decor hits the shelves. But, Halloween lovers have taken a firm stand against Christmas arriving too early this year. Trending on social media, Halloween Trees have begun to appear. Creepy decorations, grinning jack-o-lanterns, and brilliant orange and black lights are used to decorate these new trees. It is a unique take on Halloween decorations to add to the traditional ghostly cemeteries, spiders, and skeletons in the yard.
Lights, projectors, and animated decorations all require some form of power, but is the home’s electrical system ready for it? Not all homes are set up for new electrical appliances or outdoor decor. Keep reading to find out how to prepare the house to handle this kooky new trend and keep the house prepared for more “electric” and eclectic decor options.
Replacing Outlets: When and Why
Electrical outlets are sturdy pieces of hardware, but they do eventually wear out. Every time something is plugged into an outlet, metal connects with metal. Shoving or jerking out plugs and continual use wears down the connections of the outlet. This leads to a voltage not arcing efficiently, resulting in electrical resistance in the outlet. Old or damaged outlets are less efficient at outputting electricity to appliances, and eventually, as electrical resistance increases, heat rises within the outlet, leading to risks of electrical fires and melting of internal components.
Outlets should be replaced for the following reasons:
Damaged, Discolored, or Warped:
If there are cracks, warping, or other physical degradation of the outlet, it should be replaced immediately.
Old and Outdated:
Older outlets won’t be able to output higher voltage amounts needed for newer appliances. Consider updating them even if they’re not damaged to increase electrical efficiency in the home.
Grounded outlets are a safety precaution for the home. Grounded outlets provide an extra path for electricity to travel in the third prong and are less likely to cause short circuits.
Different Types of Outlets (GFCI and AFCI)
There are several types of outlets used in a modern home. GFCI and AFCI outlets are both modern inventions used to protect a home from electrical disasters.
GFCI stands for “ground fault circuit interrupter.” GFCIs are legally required to be used in any areas with an increased risk of electric shocks, such as areas that use water in the home like the bathroom or kitchen. GFCI outlets monitor electrical currents and turn them off when there is an imbalance. They are typically considered to be more sensitive to older outlet models, and their sensitivity protects the home from electrical surges that can result in electrocution.
AFCI stands for “arc-fault circuit interrupters.” AFCIs protect the home from excessive heat caused by arcing. Overheating devices and splintered or damaged wires are common causes of arcing in a home. AFCIs can detect these unwanted and dangerous arcs and shut down the receiving outlet when detected. They are not typical outlets found in the wall but are usually installed as special circuit breakers. They are typically found in living spaces like the bedroom, living room, and kitchen.
Why Choose a Professional?
Working with a professional electrical technician is common sense when it comes to outlets or any major electrical problem. Working with electricity is exceptionally dangerous and requires special gear and tools to be done safely. Projects completed by amateurs may not be up to building codes and are not usually warranted to protect the customer. A professional electrician will be able to ensure a project is done correctly, providing the customer peace of mind in the safety of their home.
Working with an electrical professional will make preparing for Halloween’s newest electrical decor trends a snap. Upgrading and replacing outlets is one way to keep the home ready for any decor challenge to come in the future.