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How Safe are Your Christmas Lights?

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Christmas is just around the corner and everybody will be decorating their homes and making everything ready for the big day.. A lot of us tend to stick to holiday themes or colour palettes but a lot of us also never think about safety when it comes to decorating. Most Christmas decorations include Christmas lights and for many years, substandard ones have been the cause of many unfortunate events during the holiday season.  

We all agree that Christmas lights are very captivating. They are wonderful to behold but they can also pose a threat to your safety if installed and stored improperly. 

Faulty Christmas lights have caused many home fires over the years, resulting in millions of pounds worth of damages to property. Fires are also not the only concern when it comes to these colourful lights. A lot of injuries have been sustained while installing them. For instance, people falling from the ladder while installing them, tripping over the electrical wires, causing contusions, sprains, lacerations and fractures. 

Experiencing such calamities is no way of welcoming the holiday season. To prevent this from happening to you, take the time to learn more about the correct installation, and removal of Christmas lights. 

If you are tempted to buy very cheap Christmas lights, stop and think about it, are they really safe? Read on and find out how you can choose the most safe, appropriate and energy efficient Christmas lights for your home. 

Throw away your old Christmas lights. If you have been using the same Christmas lights for many years, perhaps it’s time for you to get an upgrade. If your old Christmas lights have a great sentimental value to you and your family, you can keep it in storage but don’t use it as part of your decoration. If you continue to use old ones, there is a great chance of it having exposed wires, frayed cords or damages due to years of wear and tear. 

Go and get yourself a new set of lights.They come in a variety of options that will suit your taste. On top of that, the new lights are manufactured under modern safety standards which means they are much safer and more efficient to use compared to your old ones.  

Use white lights. So that your lights will pop out and look good with your other Christmas decor, going for white lights is a great option, especially if you are planning to use the same lights every year. If you tend to change your colour themes each year, buying multicoloured lights won’t be a great financial decision as well. 

Make sure they are certified safe. Whenever you purchase some Christmas lights, look for safety marks and certifications. This is one way of knowing that your lights have been tested and their performance has passed the safety standards. In Europe, the CE mark is a basic requirement while the BSI Kitemark means the lights have undergone a more comprehensive check for quality and safety.   

Use the lights according to their specific purpose. Interchangeable use of indoor and outdoor Christmas lights is not a safe thing to do. Outdoor Christmas lights are water-resistant and are mostly designed to be plugged in a GFCI power socket. They are also built to resist snowy weather. So if you are planning to decorate your garden, choose outdoor Christmas lights. 

Choose LED christmas lights. As compared to CFL Bulbs, LED lights are much safer because they produce a minimal amount of heat and shine 50% brighter. LED Christmas lights come in a variety of options: some are curtain-type while other lights are short and some may go as long as 7 metres. 

Why is the use of LED lights highly recommended? Firstly, these lights utilise extra-low voltage which means you have a very low risk of experiencing electrical shock. Secondly, they utilise less power as compared to traditional lights, so less heat is generated and the risk for burns and fires are greatly reduced as well. Thirdly, they use 80 to 90 per cent less electricity which means that they are cheaper to run and can last longer than traditional ones. Fourth, they are made with durable plastic and contain no filament which eliminates the risk of exposing you to breaking glass bulbs. Finally, because they are energy efficient, it means that choosing them over traditional Christmas lights is more environmentally friendly. 

Hang them properly and carefully. As you already know by now, safety is our number one priority. Make sure that the wires are not exposed to areas with heavy foot traffic so you do not cause a trip hazard. If installing them near windows and doors, make sure the wires are not feeding through them to avoid them from being snapped. When installing them all throughout your house, do not use screws or nails. Use clips instead. 

While installing the lights using a ladder, make sure that another person is spotting you. To keep your lights from becoming a fire hazard, do not overload your Christmas tree with them and if you have purchased a real tree make sure that it is kept well watered so it does not dry up. 

Whether  you love a real tree or prefer an artificial one, you must always make sure you turn your christmas lights on when leaving the house or going to bed. 

As soon as the holiday season is over, it’s time to pack them away safely. Before putting them inside their boxes, make sure to untangle the wires. Put the box in a safe and dry area of your home.

While installing your Christmas lights, if you find out that your electrical system needs testing, partial or full rewiring, you need a certified and licenced electrician to handle that for you.

If you live in Swindon and the surrounding areas, call on EJS Electrical for all your electrical requirements. To enquire or book a service, feel free to call them on 01793 238806 or 07725 228145 or send an email on info@ejselectrical.co.uk

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Your FAQs Answered

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Did you know that one of the leading causes of house fires is electrical problems? With this in mind, choosing the right electrician should be a task that must be taken seriously. When it comes to safety, you should never compromise. The same is true when it comes to choosing the right electrician: hiring the best one, will give you your money’s worth. 

When it comes to electrical work, to ensure safety and security, everything must be done methodically and according to the electrical standards and approved codes of practice. 

If you want to know how you can find the best electrician in your area, we have collected a series of frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers. These questions will help you determine the right man that will do the job to serve your specific needs. 

Is it safe for me to do small electrical jobs?

Unless you have acquired industry-recognised qualifications in Electrotechnical Services, Installing Electrotechnical Systems & Equipment or Electrical Installations, the answer is no. You should leave the matter of wiring and rewiring your house to qualified experts no matter how small the job is. 

This is also important if you think you may sell your property in the future as a property with the correct electrical certification is among the things that homebuyers are looking for these days. 

As we have mentioned earlier, it is better to prioritise your safety and the safety of those you love. So instead of doing it yourself, any household wiring should be carried out by a qualified electrician. 

Do I need to hire a licenced electrician?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes! 

You should always check that your electrician has the correct accreditations  and are property registered, this can be done by checking Electrical Competent Persons register. 

The electrician you hire should be registered with any of the following,  BSI (British Standards Institution), NICEIC, ELECSA, NAPIT, STROMA, Benchmark, BESCA, and OFTEC. This means that they work to the  current UK national safety standards. They will give you a certificate to confirm that their work has been designed, inspected and tested to the required standard.

What jobs do I need to hire an electrician for? 

When it comes to Domestic Electrical Installers, below our a few of the things you may need them to do in your home: 

Wiring of a new circuit

Full house rewire

The replacement of a consumer unit (fuse box)

Any addition or alteration to existing circuits in a special location, such as the bathroom. 

Emergency call outs, to assist with any issues you may be having. 

They are also able to carry out an electrical inspection to test how the electrics of your home are working. 

When is the best time to hire an electrician?

If there is something out of the ordinary happening with your household electrics, then you should definitely call your local electrician. If your lights have started to flicker, if your electrics are starting to repeatedly trip or if you keep getting a shock everytime you switch on a light, these are a few of the many reasons you should call an electrician. 

Can electricians give us an estimate of their electrical works?

Yes, they can. In some cases, you have to pay for incidentals in addition to the estimates that your electrician will provide. For instance, if the electrical work will affect your drywall, the electrician will inform you if they can patch small damages or inform you that you have to find someone who can repair it for you. 

Do I need to rewire my house?

If your electrical wiring is ungrounded, using BX cables and wires, and using knobs and tubes, it is recommended to rewire your entire property because these are considered major hazards.

Should I use special outlets for outdoor use?

Yes, you should! Outdoor outlets are exposed to harmful elements therefore, they must be able to withstand UV light and intense cold or heat. This is why you must install weather resistant electrical outlets and receptacles.

If you require emergency call outs, testing and certification, and full or partial rewires, you can trust EJS Electrical to carry it out for you. For all your electrical requirements, give our experts a call on 01793 238806 or 07725 228145!