Christmas Light Safety
While the holiday season may inspire you to set up some lights, don’t forget about the potential fire hazard that Christmas lights can present to your home. From the tree to the front door or stairs and even the fence, Christmas lights make the holiday season merry and bright, but they don’t come without their risks. Falls, electrocutions, and fires are all a possibility when you add extra lighting equipment and electrical distribution to your home’s circuit.
Top tips for Christmas Light Safety
Before you start decorating, there are some important safety tips to be aware of, to ensure your Christmas doesn’t end in disaster – don’t get getting ahead of yourself and simply put last year’s Christmas lights up. It’s important to unravel them and check the plug, leads, and lamp holders for exposed wires or obvious signs of damage and decay. Other things to look out for and do include:
- Buy Australian-compliant Christmas lights (non-compliant lights are often sold on the internet from overseas)
- Ensure all lights, extension leads, and power boards are suitable for your intended use – use indoor and outdoor lights and decorations only as recommended
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety warnings
- Always turn off decorative or Christmas lights before going to bed or leaving the house
- Don’t alter or modify lights or any electrical product
- If you have a living Christmas tree, switch off and unplug lights when watering the tree
- Keep Christmas lights out of reach of children
It’s also important to note that lights suitable for indoor use should only be used indoors. This will be indicated on the packaging or on the light itself (usually on a tag near the plug). It’s not safe to use indoor lights outdoors as they don’t have the additional weatherproof ratings.
If you have any concerns about the safety of the Christmas decorations dispose of them safely or get them checked by a licensed professional within our team at North Lakes & Surrounds Electrical.
Outdoor Christmas lights, and indeed outdoor lights in general, are designed to meet additional safety standards than indoor lights. However, some Christmas lights suitable for outdoors require the transformer (plug) to be located indoors and away from any effects of weather while others may only be suitable for temporary use outdoors. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions before purchase and during installation and use.
Follow these tips to keep your outdoor Christmas light display safe:
- Secure outdoor lights to avoid damage in wind or storms.
- Always turn off outdoor decorative lighting in rainy or stormy weather.
- Keep flood lights, halogen lights and other high-powered lights away from anything that might catch fire as they can become very hot.
- Don’t run electrical leads over walkways or driveways or through doorways and windows where they might be damaged.
- Ensure all outdoor connections are weatherproof.
- Don’t put Christmas lighting around or above swimming pools or have leads lying in water or wet areas.
- Don’t wrap lights around sharp metal objects which may damage the wires.
- Be aware that using multiple high-powered lamps may overload your electric circuits.
Outdoor Christmas lights will have an IP rating (e.g. IPX3, IP23, IP44), this number shows how weatherproof the light is – the higher the numbers, the better the weatherproof rating. Outdoor equipment must have a rating of at least IP23.
Buying Christmas lights
Australian safety standards for electrical products are generally more strict than other countries where you may find cheaper alternatives. However, these products you buy online from other countries may not be suitable for use in Australia as all electrical equipment and appliances are required o have an Australian certificate of approval before they can be sold in Queensland.
Look for an approval number (e.g. Q12345; V12345; N12345; NSW12345) or the regulatory compliance mark logo. These indicate compliance with Australian Standards. These marks must be on the Christmas lights and are normally found on the packaging, plastic tag near the plug, or on the transformer body if it is an extra low voltage type.
Don’t get too caught up in the holiday spirit and always remember your electrical safety. If you have any concerns about your Christmas lights and would like a licensed professional to check them out, please call our team at North Lakes & Surrounds Electrical today at (07) 3053 3118.