Christmas lights safety

With Christmas just around the corner, most of us will be preparing to haul out the decorations without giving a second thought to the state they might be in. But to stay safe, perhaps we should – particularly when it comes to our lighting choices – here’s what to think about.

Fairy lights

No Christmas tree is complete without a few twinkly fairy lights, but damaged or faulty lights can cause a tree fire which can destroy a room in less than a minute so it’s important to make sure that what you’re using is fit for purpose – especially as they’ve probably been tucked away for the last 11 months:

  • Check that wires and plug connections aren’t loose or damaged
  • If a bulb has blown, replace it, don’t leave the socket exposed
  • Use the correct fuse
  • Switch lights off when you go to bed or leave the house
  • Don’t overload plug sockets

If you’ve got a real Christmas tree, keep it watered to make sure it stays as fresh as it can during the festive period. A dry tree poses an extra risk as it’s more likely to catch fire quickly and feed the flames.

If you’re using lights around your home then the same rules apply – it’s also a good idea to keep lights away from flammable decorations like paper chains or tinsel.

Update your lighting to LED

If you can’t remember ever buying or replacing your Christmas lights, then chances are they may still use the old-style incandescent bulbs which give light by heating up a filament. These bulbs were phased out from 2009 and gradually replaced by LEDs, so if you haven’t upgraded your fairy lights, it’s probably a good idea as LEDs come with a whole host of benefits:

  • LED lights use a much lower voltage, reducing the risk of an electric shock
  • They last up to 60 times longer than incandescent bulbs
  • They are more energy efficient
  • LEDs are made from plastic and can withstand more wear and tear than traditional glass bulbs
  • They don’t heat up as much which lowers the risk of fire

Outdoor lights

christmas lightsLighting up the outside makes winter feel a little less bleak but make sure you use lights that have been specifically made for the outdoors. They’re likely to be more expensive than indoor fairy lights but that’s because they’ll be sealed to protect them from the elements – and protect you from the risk of electric shock.

If you are using outdoor lights it’s also a good idea to fit an RCD (residual current device) which breaks the circuit if it detects a live current.

Stay safe and have a merry Christmas

At Barton Electrical, our advice would always be – if in doubt, ask an expert. As qualified electricians with decades of experience, we can help with all your electrical needs. Whether you’re just looking for some sound guidance or want to book a winter safety check for your home, give us a call on 07976 685746 or drop us an email at