How safe are the Christmas lights that we have in our home? Can we trust that they are not going to cause electrical incidents?
Christmas time is a stressful time of year for everyone, the last thing you want to do is plug in lights that will cause an electrical fault in your home. At Albert Corn and Son, we want everyone to have a safe and well-lit Christmas so here are some tips to help avoid major electrical hazards during the holiday season this year.
1. Check your Christmas Lights
Christmas lights can be flimsy and can quickly deteriorate over the years especially if you use them for all of December. So it’s important each year to check the christmas lights you packed away last year. Make sure the plugs still look safe, that there are no chewed or frayed leads and certainly no exposed wires. If you are concerned about your lights, it is best not to plug them in and instead consider buying some new lights to decorate your home with.
2. Do you Christmas Lights meet current safety requirements?
If you have old Christmas lights you should check to see if they meet the latest safety requirements, including having insulated pins. All electrical appliances sold after 2006 must-have insulated pins. If they do not have insulated pins, your Christmas decorations are over 15 years old and it is time to replace them with new Christmas decorations.
Additionally, plug in lights must meet Australian Safety Standards and be registered with Electrical Equipment Safety Scheme (EESS) before they can be sold. A way to tell if your Christmas lights are registered and certified by EESS is by looking for the regulatory compliance mark. This mark must be found on the plug of your Christmas lights and powered decorations and is also usually found on the packaging as well.
As a general rule of thumb, don’t buy Christmas lights from overseas sellers. The safety standards in order countries are different to Australian standards and may be inferior to the level of safety that you will find in local retailers.
3. Outside Lighting
Christmas time is one of the only times we dabble with outdoor lighting by ourselves, so there are a few things to consider when hanging outdoor lights this year.
- Turn your lights off: While the glow of the lights at night may be visually appealing make sure they are turned off at night to prevent overheating and other electrical hazards that may be caused by the external environment. It is also a good idea to turn the indoor lights off each time you leave the house and before you go to bed.
- Always use lights for the intended purpose and if they are outdoor lights make sure they are extra low voltage and waterproof such as LED or solar lights.
- Do not put any outside lighting over or near swimming pools.
- Think about where leads are going and whether they are going to be damaged. For example, don’t squash leads under doors or leave them exposed to the elements on the driveway. Damaged lights are a more significant danger and shouldn’t go unnoticed.
- Try not to plug Christmas lights in near high powered lights. Lights such as floodlights or halogen lights provide great coverage but can get quite hot and may burn you when installing or even affect the efficiency of your Christmas decorations.
- Consider where your pets play outside. Try not to place Christmas lights in an area where your pet plays often or where they might be within reach to chew on the leads as this will not only ruin your display but may require a trip to a vet as well. If your pet is playing outside make sure to keep watch just in case they do find your Christmas lights.
4. Other General Electrical Tips to Remember at Christmas time
- Don’t overload power boards as this can fuse your home
- Test your safety switch and smoke detector to make sure they are working. If you don’t have a safety switch, get one installed or use a portable safety switch.
How can Albert Corn and Son help you have a great Christmas?
At Albert Corn and Son, we know what it’s like to want to impress the kids with your cool Christmas lights. But it is just as important to make sure these lights are safe, if you have any concerns about your Christmas lights, check out Energy Safe Victoria for more common Christmas electrical faults or consider buying new lights. If you are not sure if your smoke alarm or safety switch are in good working order, give our friendly team a call and we will organise someone to come out to check them for you before it’s too late.