Keeping Your Home Safe and Sound this Holiday Season

By: 
John Drengenberg, Consumer Safety Director at UL

For many Americans, the holidays are a time for tradition, such as the National Christmas Tree Lighting that UL has proudly sponsored for six consecutive years. (Be sure to tune in and join us live online for the incredible holiday performance at www.thenationaltree.org on December 6 starting at 4:30pmET!)

Whether you’re enjoying old traditions or creating new ones, innovations have modernized nearly everything we love about the holidays – from cooking and tree decorating to gift giving and gathering around the fireplace. While we may enjoy the conveniences such innovation brings, we also need to be aware of and find ways to minimize the potential risks associated with modern living.

Here at UL, a global safety science company with more than 120 years of history, we’re proud of our work to stay a step ahead of innovation. Through new science and research aimed at minimizing risks, our goal is to help make the world a safer place, especially during this special time of year. When it comes to fire safety, energy efficiency, transaction security and indoor air quality, here’s what you need to know:

  • Preventing Fires: Fires burn hotter and faster today –largely attributed to the change in residential buildings over the last several decades with larger homes and more open floor plans, a focus on higher energy efficiency and increased use of synthetic building materials. With this in mind, our annual safety suggestions resonate more than ever. For example, keep the base of your tree filled with water at all times and check light strings for wear-and-tear that may pose a fire or shock hazard.
  • Improving Your Energy Use: If you’re buying new holiday lights this year, look for UL-certified, energy-efficient LED lights that use 75 percent less energy and last longer than incandescent light strings.
  • Protecting Your Transactions: Online fraud is high during the holidays – be aware of phony e-tailers. Check for misspellings or unusual URLs. Also, only donate to charities you know and trust. Or, if an unknown charity piques your interest, verify it is legitimate through a reputable organization such as the Better Business Bureau.
  • Safeguarding the Air You Breathe: Indoor air quality is affected by products we bring into our homes, including candles and household cleaners. For candles, look for ones that are unscented and with lead-free wicks. And, as you clean your home to get ready for those holiday guests, choose greener cleaners such as low VOC products and vacuums with Hepa filters.

‘Tis the seasons to be merry, after all, so take a few minutes to consider how to keep your home safe and sound this holiday season.

For more information about how science is advancing safety, visit www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/newscience.