Millions of Americans will celebrate the start of the holiday season by festooning lawns, porches and rooftops with twinkling lights. If you’re among them, remember to make safety a priority before flipping the power switch.
“Outdoor electric lights and decorations should always be plugged into outlets protected by ground fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs,” said Brad Adcock, Walton EMC’s director of safety and training.
GFCIs turn off the power when a ground fault is present, helping protect users from electrical burns, shock or electrocution. They are commonly used in temporary power applications, such as holiday yard decorations, to provide protection where electrical circuits may contact water, and a standard GFCI receptacle is not available.
Though standard in newer homes, older houses typically aren’t equipped with GFCI-protected outdoor outlets. You’ll recognize these outlets easily because they have test and reset buttons.
Portable GFCI devices, available at home improvement stores, are a solution for homes lacking GFCI-protected outdoor outlets. Plug-in GFCIs connect directly into a wall outlet and have one or more receptacles. Inline GFCIs are lengths of cord with an outlet plug at one end and one or more receptacles at the other end.