This time of year brings lots of festivities and decorations out of the loft to brighten up your home and make it feel like Christmas. Whilst it’s a fantastic tradition, it’s important to make sure you are fully aware of the potential danger that all of these lights hold. Most families will repeatedly use the same lights as the year before until they break, and will abandon them in cold lofts until December returns the following year. The older they get with more wear and tear from the cold and damp weather each year, the more likely they are going to become safety hazards. Overloading sockets with outdated lights could cause a fault, so if your lights aren’t looking fit for this Christmas, it’s time to buy some new lights from a reputable supplier.
Buying New Christmas Lights
When buying new lights for Christmas, it’s important to know that you can typically get two different types, ones which operate at mains voltage (230 volts) and extra-low voltage (12-24 volts). The safest lights operate at an extra-low voltage, due to being powered by a safety extra-low voltage transformer. This reduces risks of electric shocks and and faults.
The Electrical Safety Council recommends LED Christmas lighting over filament due to the following:
- Electric shocks are reduced due to the extra-low voltage
- Fire and burn risks are reduced due to the little heat that’s produced in LEDs. They also use much less power and this paired with the low heat majorly reduces potential hazards
- They are more beneficial for the person using the lighting, due to LEDs lasting up to 60 times longer than traditional filament Christmas lighting, and are estimated to use 80-90% less electricity
- LEDs are made of a special plastic, opposed to a glass lamp inside filament lighting, which increases the durability of LED lights
- Because of everything stated above, they are seen as much more environmentally friendly opposed to filament lighting.
For more information on LED lights in particular and how they can save you money, take a look at our useful infographic here.
Precautions to take this Christmas
Below is a list of things you should always/never do to increase not only your own safety, but the safety of others around you when decorating your house with Christmas lights.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions
- Make sure your Christmas lights are not damaged before using them
- Use lamps of the same rating and type when replacing
- Make sure all outdoor lighting is connected using a 40mA RCD protected socket, this will ensure that no fatalities occur and can potentially be life-saving
- If an individual light fails, replace it as soon as possible to prevent overheating
- Turn your Christmas lights off before you go to sleep or go out
- Keep lights away from flammable objects
- Use lights outdoors unless they are designed for it
- Connect different lights together
- Replace lamps whilst the chain is connected to the supply
- Overload sockets using extension leads and adapters
- Use lights that are damaged or faulty
We hope you stay safe this Christmas and spread the word to prevent anything happening to family and friends.
If you want to find out more information about handling electrics safely, then take a look at our guide to DIY Electrics!Back to blog