Christmas lights safety – your need-to-know guide

Essential expert safety checklist for decorating your tree and house


Christmas is a time of spending, feasting and of course, lots and lots of lights! And when you light up the tree or deck the house out with glowing Santas and light-up reindeers, here are some tips from the Electrical Contractors’ Association to make sure your Christmas sparkles – without any sparks!

  • The lights that you stuffed in the loft from Christmas last year are perfectly fine to use, just make sure you’ve replaced any broken lights, and that there are no frayed leads or broken connectors before you turn them on.
  • Overloading sockets with lights can result in overheating, electric shocks, and short-circuiting – so keep plugs in sockets to a minimum.
  • To cope with the chilly weather, outdoor Christmas lights should be low voltage (12V or 14V) or protected by a Residual Current Device that automatically kicks into action and breaks the circuit in the event of an earth fault.
  • Toddlers like to crawl, so make sure cables are stored out of reach and fully unwound. If left coiled in a tight reel, they may overheat and potentially cause a fire.
  • Keep lighting equipment away from water sources, and always turn off all your festive lights before you go to bed.
  • When buying electrical decorations, make sure to purchase from a reputable retailer and check they’re branded with the European Standard CE mark.
  • And of course, any lights you decide to buy should be compatible with the voltage they’re being connected to, which is generally 230 volts in the UK.

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