COLUMBUS – This time of year, many Ohio families begin putting up decorations to celebrate the holidays. Decorations help make the season bright, but can also create safety hazards. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) offers some tips to ensure a safe and energy efficient holiday season.
Decorating this holiday season can be done safely with these tips:
• Check strands of holiday bulbs and discard strands of lights that have damaged cords.
• Use the correct type of bulbs for indoor and outdoor use. Make sure to plug bulbs into a power strip with a built-in circuit breaker.
• When using a ladder to hang holiday lights, stay clear of nearby power lines.
• When shopping for a live tree, look for a fresh one. Dry trees are a greater fire hazard than fresh ones.
• When using an artificial tree, make sure it is flame-resistant.
• Do not place a tree near the fireplace, heat vents or portable heaters and use nonflammable ornaments to decorate the tree.
Managing home energy bills
Enjoying the holidays does not have to mean higher energy bills. The following tips can help save energy:
• Use energy efficient LED holiday bulbs. LED bulbs last longer, require less energy and can lead to cost savings.
• Put outdoor lights on a timer to save electricity.
• Keep the thermostat set to 68 degrees. A programmable thermostat is an affordable way to stay comfortable and save energy.
• When traveling, set the thermostat to 55 degrees to save energy and prevent water pipes from freezing.
For more information about additional ways to save money on home heating bills, visit Ohio’s Winter Heating Resource Center at winterheat.ohio.gov. For help with utility-related questions and concerns, call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826).