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10 ways to make your holiday season safer and more energy-efficient
Easy tips can also reduce energy costs as winter approaches

ST. LOUIS (Nov. 30, 2020) – For many people, Thanksgiving weekend marks the beginning of the holiday season. As families begin decking the halls, Ameren Missouri is reminding customers of these key safety tips:  

Electrical safety

  • Inspect all holiday lights for broken or cracked sockets. Look for frayed or bare wires, loose connections or damaged plugs. Throw away damaged light sets.
  • Make sure lights, decorations and other electrical devices are disconnected before installing or working on them.
  • Never overload electrical circuits or outlets. Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord to prevent from overheating.
  • For outdoor lighting, use Underwriters Laboratories (UL)-certified lights approved for outdoor use. Also, use heavy-duty UL-certified outdoor extension cords.
  • Do not place cords under rugs or carpets, where they can be walked upon or where someone can trip over them.
  • If using a ladder to hang outdoor lights, beware of overhead electrical wires near the house or street. Use a ladder that does not conduct electricity, such as fiberglass with non-conductive side rails.

Fire Prevention

  • Keep decorations away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, space heaters and furnaces. Nearly 40% of decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.
  • Blow out lit candles before leaving the room or going to bed. More than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles.
  • When selecting a live tree, choose one that is new and fresh. Older trees tend to be drier, and can catch fire more easily and burn faster. Check the tree's branches and look for a trunk sticky with sap. Needles should bend, not break, and should be hard to pull off branches. Keep the tree holder base filled with water.
  • For artificial trees, select one that has been tested and labeled as being fire-resistant.

Now is also a good time to make sure your home is ready for winter by making it as energy-efficient as possible.

“This winter, many of us will use more energy than in the past to keep our homes warm and well-lit, since we’re continuing to spend more time at home,” said Shelly Harmon, manager of energy efficiency at Ameren Missouri. “Finding ways to be energy-efficient can help everyone save money on their energy statements – something we all appreciate during the holidays.”

LED lightbulbs are safer, sturdier and longer lasting than incandescent bulbs, which helps you save energy inside your home, as well as on your outdoor light display. In fact, LED strings can be used for up to 40 holiday seasons. LEDs are cooler than incandescent lights, reducing the risk of combustion or burns. They are also more resistant to breakage than glass bulbs, which enables them to better withstand wind and snowstorms.

Another important area to check is heating, which can account for almost 50% of a home’s total energy use. To save on heating costs, add insulation and seal any cracks along doors and windows. Clean or replace filters regularly to keep furnaces running efficiently. In addition, upgrading to a smart thermostat can help keep the temperature comfortable, as well as save up to $180 in energy costs each year.

Customers can find instant savings on many energy-efficient products at AmerenMissouriSavings.com, including discounts on LED lights, smart thermostats and energy-saving power strips.

Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company's electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri's mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 132,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.

For further information: Ameren Missouri Communications, 314.554.2182, missouricommunications@ameren.com