As we move through the festive period and the echoes of Christmas cheer begin to spread, it’s that time when homeowners dust off their Christmas decorations and untangle dazzling arrays of fairy lights. Yet many householders fail to recognise the lurking dangers that can stem from seasonal décor.
Whilst the 2022 Yuletide may be less elaborate than recent years, there is sound advice at hand for those still decking out their homes to brighten the December nights. NICEIC, the UK’s body for certified electrical businesses, shares its 12 tips for keeping safe this Christmas.
- After months of being stored away, Christmas lights can easily get damaged. Check your Christmas lights thoroughly to ensure they are not broken or damaged before use
- Use only replacement bulbs (lamps) of the same type and rating as those originally supplied
- Always switch lights off before you go to bed or go out
- Do not be tempted to keep them on too long as they can overheat
- Keep lights away from flammable decorations and materials that can burn easily
- Avoid using extension leads or adapters wherever possible
- Never attempt to repair lights by using tape
- Avoid tampering with lights to string sets together
- Check the wiring of the plug and make sure no bare wires are visible
- Only use outdoor lights that have been specifically designed to be used outdoors. If you are unsure, check the manufacturers’ instructions
- All outside sockets must be RCD protected for safety. An RCD (residual current device) works by switching off the flow of electricity when a cable or flex is damaged
- We would advise that any fixed or permanent outside lighting should be installed by a certified electrical installer to ensure it complies with the appropriate safety standards
Paul Collins, Head of Technical Services for NICEIC, explained to Channel Eye: “Faced with soaring energy prices, 54% of people unsurprisingly have admitted to playing down their illuminations this year. But as the countdown to Christmas begins, we will still no doubt enter that prime time for electrical catastrophes when wiring has degraded while in storage, socket outlets get overloaded, or homeowners riskily explore creative ways to illuminate their outdoor areas.
“Our message is simple: deck the halls without the folly. Carry out our basic safety checks and be sensible when using electricity around the home; but always call in the professionals if you need any new socket-outlets installed or rewiring carried out.”
If you have a real Christmas tree:
- Make sure that you keep it well watered. Real trees can absorb up to a litre of water a day and it’s important that you don’t let it dry out.
- Don’t spray hairspray on the pine needles to stop them dropping off – it’s VERY flammable!
- Keep it well away from heat sources, particularly portable heaters.