It’s mid-December and you know what that means! The Christmas tree is up, the fairy lights are on, and everywhere people are getting into the full festive swing. It’s a wonderful time of year, and at HRHislop we enjoy getting into the Christmas spirit, with tinsel and twinkling lights all around. And this is one of the most common Christmas decorations – the one that unites everyone’s Christmas styles – the lights. Power bills surge at this time of year thanks to these little glowing bulbs, and while they do look lovely, they also come with some risks. So this year we wanted to share with you a few Christmas safety tips, so you can be sure a preventable accident doesn’t take the fun out of your festive celebrations!

Test Your Lights

For most people, the Christmas decorations only come out once a year. For the other 11 months they will be crammed back into a box and stored in the loft, a storage unit, under the stairs or even in the shed. So before you get too caught up in putting the lights up, you should do some basic checks to make sure they’re still safe and in full working order. Here are a few things you should look for:

  • Check that there is no damage to the cables or bulbs
  • Plug them in before you put them up and check for dead bulbs.
  • Replace any failed bulbs straight away, using the same type and rating. If you can’t replace the bulbs, you will need to replace the whole set.
  • If using outdoor lighting, make sure it’s connected to an RCD protected, weatherproof socket (since this reduces the risk of electric shocks and/or fires)
  • Make sure you’re not plugging too many things into your power sockets – this can lead to overheating and fires.
  • Make sure you turn all lights off when you’re asleep or out of the house. If you’re prone to forgetting, put them on a timer.

Of course, if you find your lights have been stored uncovered and in bad condition, or they are damaged in any way, the best thing to do is throw them away and buy a new set. Even minor damage can cause shorts and electrical fires.

Make The Switch To LED

If you’ve bought your Christmas lights in more recent years, they are probably already fitted with LED bulbs.But there are still plenty around that aren’t. The electrical safety council have now recommended the use of LED lights for Christmas trees over the traditional filament or lantern lights. This is mainly because they operate at a much lower voltage, which significantly reduces the risk of electric shocks,and they run at a much lower temperature. They also use 80-90% less electricity than their filament and lantern counterparts, reducing your electricity bill and the risk of overheating. And if you needed another reason, they’re also made of a much more durable material that doesn’t need to use a filament, so they won’t break for a long time!

Preventing Christmas Tree Fires

We’re sure you’ve seen the terrifying video shared every year by the Fire Kills Campaign, but just in case, we wanted to share it with you:

In just under a minute, a set of faulty Christmas tree lights causes a spark that sets the whole tree – and living room – ablaze. The fire service reports that they attend around 200 house fires cause by Christmas decorations every single December and begs people to be more careful. Thankfully there are a few simple things you can do to prevent a Christmas tree fire in your home this year:

  • If you go for an artificial tree, make sure you opt for one that is fire resistant
  • If you’ve got a real tree, make sure you keep it well watered (since dry trees are more likely to catch fire)
  • Make sure your smoke alarm is working
  • Check all your lights (not just the ones going on the tree) for frayed wires
  • Switch your lights off before you leave the house or go to bed
  • Keep your tree a safe distance from a heat source or open flames
  • Don’t leave pets or young children unsupervised near your tree

At HRHislop, we want you to enjoy the festive season as safely as possible. Nearly all of the dangers and accidents that happen at Christmas are preventable, especially if you do a little pre-festive maintenance. So, if you’ve been having any electrical problems in your home, no matter how small, or you want a waterproof outdoor electrical socket installed for your festive lighting display, just get in touch with us today for your free quote.

And from everyone at the HRHislopteam, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!!