How Do I Check My Xmas Lights Are Safe For The Big Day?
Are you wondering how to check whether your Xmas lights are safe for the big day? It’s less than 3 weeks to the big day now and houses up and down West Yorkshire are dressing their trees, hanging the tinsel & putting lights up outside. But be honest, the lights come straight out of the loft and get plugged in without any thought for their condition or whether they are indeed safe to use.
Thing is, if your Xmas lights haven’t been checked for safety and do have a fault, this can cause problems. Fire & potential for electric shock are the 2 most serious problems that faulty Christmas lights could cause. This probably comes as no suprise to many, electrical faults are responsible for over 12,000 fires a year in the UK, not to mention a handful of fatalities (and countless less serious shocks).
However it may come as a suprise that faulty lights could cause electrical problems at your home, blowing fuses and tripping RCDs. It doesn’t have to catch fire or kill someone (as most people take the attitude this would never happen to them) – electrical tripping due to faulty appliances (particularly lights outside) are one of the most common faults causing tripping we come accross. Don’t make a distinction between your xmas lights and anything else you plug in; in fact xmas lights often have thin cable which damages easily, are wound tightly around trees and other objects and can often be used outside in the pouring rain.
So here comes the big question: How Do I Check My Xmas Lights Are Safe For The Big Day?
Visual Checks For Your Xmas Lights You Can Do Yourself:
Once you’ve got the lights back out the loft/shed/cupboard (*delete as appropriate!), before you jump straight in and plug them in, lay them out on the floor and have a quick look over the following:
- Check the plug body has no cracks, is screwed tight together and has a good grip of the cable
- Check the plug pins: they should not be bent or have any signs of burning on them
- Check the cable: It should have no unusual lumps/bumps, no cuts or pieces of insulation damaged
- Check the bulbs: Quickly visually check they are not damaged
If you have checked all the above and can find no obvious damage then it should be safe to plug the lights in.
Before you put them on the tree or up outside, it’s a better idea to plug them in now whilst on the floor so you can check they are all working as they should. Older style lights have bulbs which can be changed if they have blown, although to be fair these style lights are getting a bit archaic now. Modern LED types are much better, and although the ‘bulbs’ aren’t changeable, they last MUCH MUCH longer. They also use less energy and give a much more crisp/vibrant light.
If the bulbs are replaceable, swap any non working ones whilst the lights are easily accessible. LEDs are non-replaceable (see note below).
You’ve now checked your Xmas Lights Are Safe For The Festive Season!
Once you’ve checked them over, unplug them and fit them into position!!
What If You Find Your Xmas Lights Are Faulty?
If you do find a fault with your Xmas Lights, then realistically you need to replace them. Simple Christmas Tree lights & even Outdoor Xmas Lights are cheap. Whilst I appreciate people wanting to save money, unless they are large outdoor lights, the cost of repairing them far outweighs the cost of replacing them.
If you were to repair any of the cable, you would need to ensure it was tested afterwards. Obviously this would require equipment beyond a DIYer. Whilst yes we can repair your lights if you so desire, ultimately new light sets are ‘completely new’ and would come with a warranty. Your best bet is to replace with a modern LED set that save money & will last a lot longer than older xmas lights.
Particularly outdoor lights, once they start to deteriorate from exposure to the weather, water can easily seep into the connections. This can cause all manner of tripping problems, leaving you without power (without a doubt always at the worst moment, so probably Christmas Day!)
If you need any more electrical advice to help keep your Xmas Lights shining bright this festive season, use our Contact Form
ElectricBlu Contractors – (01924) 654034