NICEIC, the UK’s leading body for registered electricians, says many householders are often unaware of the extra dangers that can arise from plugging in Christmas decorations around the home.
Darren Staniforth, NICEIC’s technical development manager, said: “The Christmas lights display is one of the best bits of Christmas. Many households really go to town in transforming their houses into multi-coloured festive extravaganzas each year. However, it’s important not to get too carried away and to always put safety first. Otherwise homeowners could be putting their homes in jeopardy.
“Some householders will plug in far too many lights on one socket which can lead to overloading, while others many opt to re-wire their lights to include multiple sets which can pose a potential fire risk.
“Of course, we all love to add that extra bit of sparkle and glamour at Christmas but it’s important to remember that electrical safety is paramount and should come before anything else.
“It can be all too easy at Christmas time – when everyone is plugging in new gadgets, cooking the dinner and putting up lights to put an extra demand on the electrical system around the home and if you are not careful it can have dramatic consequences.
“Many will be unaware of the additional dangers that can arise, but we hope that with a bit of common sense and due care we can limit any Christmas catastrophes and that everyone can enjoy their time safely.”
NICEIC offers the following top tips when dealing with electricity and Christmas lights to help homeowners keep safe during Christmas:
1). Check your Christmas lights thoroughly – After 12 months being stored away Christmas lights can easily get damaged. Ensure they are not broken or damaged before use and look out for loose wires.
2). Use only replacement bulbs (lamps) of the same type and rating as those originally supplied
3). 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.
4). Keep lights away from flammable decorations and materials that can burn easily.
5). Avoid using too many extension leads or adapters.
6). Never attempt to repair lights by using tape or joining with another set of lights.
7). Check the wiring of the plug and make sure no bare wires are visible.
8). Only use outdoor lights that have been specifically designed to be used outdoors. If you are unsure check the manufacturers’ instructions.
9). All outside sockets must be RCD (residual current device) protected for safety. An RCD works by switching off the flow of electricity when a cable or flex is damaged.
10). Any fixed or permanent outside lighting should be installed by a registered electrician to ensure it complies with the appropriate safety standards.
You can search for a registered electrician in your area by visiting www.niceic.com