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Energy & Safety Tips for Holiday Decorating

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1127homespunweb.jpgRISMEDIA, Nov. 27, 2007-The holiday season is here . . .and with the holidays comes decorating! The following are tips and suggestions to help ensure a safe holiday season from Philadelphia’s PECO to get in the holiday spirit and ensure safety.

Decorative Lighting:

- Only decorate with lights that have a NOEL or U/L testing agency label. Check wires, plugs and sockets for defects. Remember: If in doubt – throw them out.
- Do not overload outlets and extension cords. Never tie together more than three extension cords.
- Don’t run electric cords under carpet, seat cushions or anywhere they may be crushed or broken.
- Keep electric cords and extension cords out of the reach of children.
- Turn off all decorative lights when going to bed or leaving the house.

Outdoor Lighting:

- Be sure decorative lights used outside are approved for outdoor use.
- Outdoor lights should be hung with insulated staples or hooks rather than nails or tacks.
- When decorating outdoors, be aware of all power lines. Don’t work near overhead power lines or anywhere there is a possibility of contacting an overhead power line, either directly or indirectly with a ladder or other piece of equipment. Do not string lights on outdoor trees that are growing into or near power lines — entire trees may become energized if lights come in contact with a power line.

Christmas Trees:

- If you buy a natural grown tree, be sure it is fresh. Cut the trunk on a 45-degree angle, about one inch above the original cut, and place it in a sturdy stand. A large tree should be anchored to prevent it from toppling over and possibly catching fire.
- Be sure to place trees away from fireplaces, radiators, television sets, and other sources of heat that may prematurely dry out the tree and make it more susceptible to fire. Make sure the tree has a sufficient amount of water at all times.
- If you have an artificial tree, make sure it is made of a fire resistant material. Lights should be hung on plastic trees only, never place electric lights on a metallic tree.

Fireplace Safety:

- Don’t burn wrapping paper or boxes in the fireplace. These types of materials ignite quickly and may burn uncontrollably. Wrapping paper also may not always burn completely and can become lodged in the chimney creating a fire hazard.
- When cleaning out fireplaces, place ashes in a metal container and store outdoors away from combustibles. Ashes can remain hot for several hours, if not days. Discard ashes only when they have completely cooled.

It’s that time of year when houses shine a bit brighter, and many wonder how much the decorative lights add to a monthly electric bill. Bills will vary based on the billing cycle for each customer (what date each month the bill is sent), but the following is an easy way to help calculate energy costs this holiday season.

1. Count the number of bulbs on your indoor tree and all of your other decorative indoor and outdoor lights. For example, 1,000.
2. Check the wattage per bulb — one watt per bulb is common. For example, 1 watt.
3. Multiply watts per bulb by number of bulbs. For example, 1,000 x 1 = 1,000.
4. Convert to kilowatts (kw) — 1000 watts equals 1 kilowatt. For example, 1 kw.
5. Estimate the number of hours in a month the lights are on. For example, 5 hours per day x 30 days = 150 hours.
6. Multiply the total kilowatts by the total number of hours the lights will be on to get the total kilowatt-hours (kwh). For example, 1 kw x 150 hours = 150 kwh.
7. Multiply the total kilowatt-hours by the total cost of electricity. For typical PECO customers, the total cost for generation, transmission and distribution of their electricity is 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. For example, 150 kwh x .14 = $21.
In our example, the total cost of holiday lighting would be an additional $21.

For more information, visit www.pecowinter.com.

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