With Christmas fast approaching, households across the nation are preparing to light it up in the name of festive cheer. But before you go dusting off the LEDs, and busting out the coloured bulbs, here are our top tips to ensure this Christmas is a safe, not silly, season.
Most of us have reams of Christmas lighting that we haul out each year with little thought of how 12 months in storage may have impacted our once perfectly working electrical additions.
Prior to putting up your old lights you should audit your lighting, checking for cord damage, blown bulbs and wire deterioration.
The list of items you inspect should also include any extension or power leads you intend to use, and that your main safety switch or overload sensors on powerboards are working.
It’s not just lights but how you install them which needs to be considered prior to clambering up the ladder and embarking on a rooftop mission. Ensure the area you intend to work near is well and truly clear of power lines and any other potential hazards.
And while you’re double checking, make certain the lights you use for outdoor lighting are designed for external use.
You should install any lights in a manner that avoids cord kinking and position all connections to power supply out of the weather. Take the time to position power leads clear from walkways or traffic areas, and don’t leave cords wound up when in use or run them through windows.
If securing an item, opt for cable ties, clips or plastic clamps not nails or staples.
When it comes to indoor lighting, ensure your lights will not come into contact with flammable items or electrical conductors like tinsel, and that your smoke alarms are operating in case something does go wrong.
A key fire risk is powerboard overload so do not piggy back double adaptors or overload powerboards and points.
All Christmas lighting sold in Australia requires rigorous testing to Australian standards, which means you should resist the urge to purchase overseas items off the net which may be of inferior quality or designed for a different voltage.
Second-hand lights are also not worth the risk, and if you do plan to buy pre-owned, have them checked by a licensed electrician.
Regardless of how new your lights are, where they’re from and how well you’ve installed them, all Christmas lighting should be turned off when you go to bed. And when Santa Claus does come to town make sure in his haste he doesn’t pile presents on top of transformers or plugs.
Are your lights Australian Standard?
Have you checked all elements of older lights?
Have you checked extension leads or had them inspected by a licensed electrician?
Are your outdoor lights for external use?
Have you checked recall information?
Are you using a safety switch?
Have you kept a safe distance between flammable materials and lighting?
Have you limited overload potential on powerboards?
Are your cords and connections out of traffic areas and children’s reach?
Do you switch off at bedtime?
For more information or to have your Christmas lights and leads checked by a licensed electrician, contact Radi Electrical here.