Christmas is a time of year for fun and celebration; All over Belfast and my hometown of Dundonald it is the time when we light up our homes which bring some cheer to the long dark days. Some locals take these displays more seriously than others but generally there seems to be more and more lighting displays as the years go by.
As your local electrician in Dundonald, Belfast, N.Brown Electrical would like to help you continue this tradition in a safe and considered way.
So before you set up your Christmas lighting displays this year, please have a read of the advice below. I will help to ensure your display doesn’t fall foul of any regulations but more importantly its safe for you and your family.
When buying any lighting or display items:
- Look for safety marks – for example the BS(British Standard) Kitemark.
- Buy from a reputable store, not from street vendors or boot sales.
- Look for lights that operate at a low voltage via a transformer. Low voltage sets pose less risk of electric shock. However, even low voltage equipment is capable of starting a fire.
- Avoid buying second-hand. If you do make sure they are PAT tested first. Even low voltage lights need to have a transformer that is plugged into the mains supply and as such it is subject to PAT testing. If your lights don’t display a test sticker, then it is vital that you get them checked out before use.
Checking for potential hazards
- Unplug the lights before removing bulbs. Never insert or remove bulbs when switched on.
- Before using, inspect cables and bulbs for damage.
- NEVER use damaged lights.
Using your Christmas lights or displays
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Use an RCD – Residual Current Device, for added protection against shock.
- Do NOT run the cable where it can be damaged, for example walked on, or where a door or window can close on it.
- Some lights can generate a considerable amount of heat. So keep lights clear of decorations and other flammable materials.
- Ensure they don’t present a trip hazard for anyone.
- Only use extension cables that have been tested.
- Switch them off when you go to bed and when you go out of the house.
- Do not allow children to play with the lights.
- Do not use any form of makeshift wiring for lights.
- Check for overloaded plugs – you should fit one plug per socket unless you use a protected bar adapter on a lead. But don’t plug appliances into the adapter that collectively use more than 13 amps of current and avoid daisy chaining extension cables.
- Do not use lights outdoors unless they are specifically made for such use.
- Don’t extend cables on outdoor lights, they are designed to be weatherproof.
- Never use extension leads or plugs and sockets outdoors unless specifically designed for outdoor use.
- On outdoor lights always check that the transformer is suitable for an outdoor location.
Storing after Use
- Take care when dismantling and packing the lights not to damage them.
- Keep them safely stored away out of reach of children.
- Avoid damp or excessively hot conditions.
- Avoid storing where rodents or squirrels can get access.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy Christmas and to thank all our customers for their continued support and wish you all the best for 2021.