holiday lights - safe lighting

Holiday business lighting displays should never be about one-upping the business next to you. It’s difficult to admire the scene if it overloads the circuits, causing a fire or tripping the breakers. Hardcore Electric is one of the commercial electricians Denver business owners call before adding a huge power load to their circuits during the holiday season. Adequate electrical infrastructure is a proven way to safely have holiday lighting for business interiors and exteriors. The confidence provided when professional electricians acknowledge your compliance with local codes and safety practices regarding lighting reduces the questions you might have about using extension cords and multiple outlets to supply power to indoor and outdoor displays.

Two types of electrical infrastructure, temporary and permanent, cover seasonal décor and lighting. Temporary includes timers, cords and power strips that aren’t hard wired into your main electrical system. Permanent electrical infrastructure includes circuit breakers and outlets.

Using Temporary Infrastructure

Nearly everyone is familiar with the tags and warnings on electric cords, extension cords, and devices. It’s easy to simply look for an “UL approved” notice and ignore or simply glance at the rest of the data on the tag. However, the additional information is important because is specifies the maximum amperage ratings. Safety guides to follow with the limit include:

  • Avoid pushing use to the limit or exceeding it.
  • Reduce the amperage amount being used when stringing cords together.

A rule of thumb is to keep under ten percent of the cord, strip or timer’s maximum rating. Resistance increases as the cord gets longer. Plugging an additional cord into another does not increase, but decreases, the amperage use available. This is a primary safety concern. Breakers trip when overloaded, but overheated extension cords melt and may start a fire. Knowing and following safety guides for temporary electrical infrastructure alleviates most holiday business lighting problems under this category.

Permanent Electrical Infrastructure and Requirements

Electrical wiring standards have changed over the years and it’s possible the wiring and panels for your Denver business aren’t able to handle the displays you want. Hardcore’s electrical contractors are skilled at assessing the outlets and circuit breakers in your company’s permanent electrical infrastructure. A 15 or 20 amp rating usually covers special seasonal lighting. Commercial displays may require 30 amp breakers. It’s vital to keep electrical use below the breaker’s maximum load capacity and to know what else each breaker is handling. A routine inspection of the power supply provides that information and makes sure the building is up to code. Talk over your business lighting plan with the electrician to be sure the breakers can handle it. If upgrades are done, request breakers be marked so you know what is governed by each one. Safe holiday lighting is a welcome way to display holiday spirit!

Call us today with all of your business lighting questions.


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