It’s that time of year again! There’s a lot of debate around when the Christmas season officially starts, but December 1 is often nominated as the perfect time to start the Christmas season, especially if you want to avoid Christmas Creep. Here in the Shoalhaven, Christmas lights have been going up for the past couple of weeks, and while they might look good, they can also be hazardous if you don’t follow some simple safety guidelines.
Keep your family safe with these easy to follow Christmas lights safety tips.
Christmas Light Safety Checklist
Before you start putting up Christmas lights outside, one of the most important things you can do is ensure your lights are specifically designed for outdoor use. Look for an IP rating that will tell you how weatherproof the light is, read the instructions carefully, and follow them closely to avoid your Christmas ending in disaster!
Other general Christmas lights safety tips include:
- Check over old lights. Look for any signs of damage or wear, and ensure all globes are fitted properly.
- Try not to use light sets with missing globes as this can lead to other conductive items being placed inside the socket.
- If you are using new light sets or looking to buy new light sets, make sure they meet Australian safety standards (look for an approval number or the regulatory compliance mark logo).
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions, even though it means the whole process will take a bit longer.
- Keep Christmas lights away from flammable materials. These include curtains, lounges, tinsel and other flammable decorations.
- Wear the appropriate safety gear when putting up exterior Christmas lights and be aware of overhead powerlines and other electrical leads.
- Always unplug Christmas lights before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Keep Christmas lights out of reach of small children and pets.
Connecting Lights Safely
Once you are confident that your Christmas lights are safe to use, follow these general electrical equipment safety tips to make sure that your festive season goes off without a hitch!
- Make sure your safety switch is working properly, and if you don’t have one, get one installed by a reliable electrician.
- Avoid using double adapters. Power boards are a much safer option.
- Check your extension leads for damage and signs of wear.
- Unwind extension leads to avoid overheating.
- Second-hand Christmas lights should be checked by a licensed electrician. A licensed electrician can also let you know whether they meet the latest safety requirements.
Consult this comprehensive checklist for more information.
Ask Your Local Electrician
If you are using second-hand lights, or old lights, ask your electrician to check them over so you know they are safe to use. You can also ask your electrician about using extra-low voltage (LED or solar) outside to reduce your energy bills. Lastly, if you’re not sure about any aspect of putting up Christmas lights, ask your local electrician first!