Apologies to all who feel it’s a bit early but, in this blog, I’m going to talk about Christmas. Specifically, some Christmas electrical safety tips.
With the majority of households in the UK decorating their homes over the first weekend of December, this seems like the right time to share some festive themed electrical safety tips. Here at Quality Electrician in Birkenshaw, Bradford I like to use my electrical expertise to keep my local community safe. So, to ensure your Christmas stays merry and bright, here are my top Christmas electrical safety tips:
Christmas Light Safety
There is nothing quite like twinkling Christmas lights to make your home feel cosy and festive. But remember those lights have been packed away for a year. You should inspect them carefully to make sure they are undamaged and safe to use, checking over the bulbs, plug and wiring. If there are any signs of damage, discard that set. If all looks good, plug them in to test the bulbs. If any need replacing, make sure to use the same type and rating of bulb as the original. The wrong bulb type could cause the set to overheat or short out.
Next consider the age of that set of lights and where you are planning to place them. Are they LEDs? If your lights have been in rotation for several years, then they may not be. LEDs are a low energy, safer alternative to traditional bulb types. They cost much less to run and generate minimal heat, reducing the risk of fire. If you have older lights that get warm with use, consider whether they are safe to use in your chosen location. Make sure to keep them clear of paper decorations and other flammable objects.
Are your lights designed for indoor or outdoor use? It goes without saying that indoor lights should only ever be used inside your home, don’t be tempted to use them outside as they simply are not designed for that. You could end up shorting out your electrics or suffering a nasty shock.
Lastly, where are you planning on plugging in your lights? If this question elicits a groan as you recall last year’s struggle with extension cords and variety of plugs, I may have a better idea. Using extension cords is fine if you are just using them for one or two sets of lights but if you are trying to power a TV, a gaming system and several sets of lights you may run into problems. All those devices drawing power from one socket can cause that socket to become overloaded and, in the worst-case scenario, can cause an electrical fire. A better, and safer, idea is to have your local electrician install an additional socket for you. Installing an additional socket is a small, swift and simple job for a qualified electrician. It can be placed right where you need it and if your home is anything like mine, that socket won’t just be for Christmas!
Outdoor Christmas Safety
If you’re planning on an outdoor lighting display at your Birkenshaw home this Christmas, I have a few tips that will help to ensure a safe and successful result.
- Use the correct light – As previously mentioned before you create your display make certain that you are only using lights that are designed for outdoor use.
- Don’t connect lights together - Make sure the light string you buy is the right length for the job. Don’t be tempted to try to connect them, you’ll be asking for trouble.
- Use a weatherproof RCD protected outdoor socket – This is a really important safety tip. Make sure to use a properly installed weatherproof socket, preferably one that is protected by an RCD. This will provide protection for both your electrical circuits should your lights prove faulty, and protect you from receiving a nasty shock. If your current plan is to use an indoor socket to power the lights, I would advise you to think again. That will require a door or window to be left ajar - not ideal if a white Christmas arrives! It also leaves you with trailing wires and one less socket indoors. It is far simpler to ask your local electrician to install a dedicated outdoor socket for you. It can be installed in the optimal position for your lighting designs and can prove handy for other outdoor activities such as mowing the lawn or hoovering out the car.
Christmas Tree Safety
If you are planning on having a beautiful real Christmas tree this year, there are a few things to bear in mind. Real trees can catch light far more easily, so you need to take a few extra precautions to lower the risk. Firstly, keep the tree well-watered – making sure to unplug the lights before doing so and avoid splashing the wires. Don’t put it near to a heat source, particularly portable electric fan heaters. As I mentioned above, use LED lights if you can. They operate at lower temperatures and are the safest option for real Christmas tree lighting.
I hope these Christmas electrical safety tips help you to keep your family and home safe this season and that you enjoy a very merry Christmas. If you have any questions about electrical safety or would like to know more about adding an extra socket, indoor or out, give me a call. I am your local, fully qualified and highly recommended electrician in Birkenshaw, Bradford. Contact me at Quality Electrician for all your electrical needs.