Based on some worrying statistics that have been published by the fire services in the past few years, Christmas is one of the most dangerous times of the year for electronics. This obviously could be due to the massive increase of lights and decorations around this period. To help reduce the risks in your home, we’ve pulled together a list that informs you of the electrical mistakes to avoid in the festive period.
One of the most common electrical safety issues to occur at Christmas is the overloading of sockets. We understand that after endless hours of climbing up and down ladders and stairs the greatest relief is finally plugging the decorations in and seeing them light up in all their glory. But, if the socket they’re plugged into is unsafe you’ll be risking more than just your spare time. Overloading a socket is incredibly dangerous and cause catastrophic fires that could destroy your home and put you (and your family) at risk. To avoid accidentally overloading a socket you should:
- Be sure to check the rating of any extension lead you are using
- Know the total current rating of the appliances that are plugged in
- As a guide, only use one extension lead per mains socket
- If possible try to avoid block adaptors
If you are still struggling to determine how safe your setup is you could even try to use the socket overload calculator to help calculate what you are drawing from the socket. That being said, if you are in doubt the safest thing to do is not take the risk. Instead, take the time to run another extension lead from a separate socket.
Using the incorrect lights
Another electrical issue you should be sure to avoid is using the incorrect lighting product in an unsuitable environment. For any decoration you’re planning to put up outside, It is essential that you only use lights that are designed for this purpose. Once again this is another situation where if you are unsure, you shouldn’t take the risk. Only use lights and decorations that state they are suitable for outside use. This is especially important at this time of year, the decorations are guaranteed to get wet and could lead to electric shocks or hazardous sparks which could lead to fires.
Not checking decorations for faults
After being packed away for an entire year, your Christmas lights could have easily become electrically unsafe. From pests chewing wires to water damaged bulbs hundreds of issues could have occurred during the storage period. This is why it is so important to check and test the decorations before you commit to putting them up. Not only will this save you the time of taking down faulty decorations, it could even save your home. When taking your lights out of storage you should perform, firstly, a visual check checking for frayed wires or condensation. If you’re happy with how the lights look you should then test them in a socket, keeping them on for a little while. If the lights look normal and steady they should be safe to use. However, If you notice any flickering or pulsing (on the standard settings of course) you should either replace the lights or get a professional to check them out for you.
Christmas is a time that should be filled with enjoyment and happiness. There are no excuses for putting your safety and others in jeopardy, each year you should follow the necessary steps to a safe and Merry Christmas!