22 Nov 2023
Light Up Safely This Christmas

There are many holidays and occasions throughout the year that involve installing special lighting. Here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe from electrical hazards when buying and installing lighting in and around your home.

Before you dive headfirst into decorating, let’s talk safety. Follow these tips to ensure a joyous and worry-free Christmas celebration!

Inspect and Replace

Before unleashing your inner decorator, give last year’s decorations a once-over. Look out for wear and tear – loose connections, frayed wires, or damaged cords. Swap out any worn-out items for shiny new ones!

Lights Examination

Check your Christmas lights for any cracked sockets, loose connections, and frayed wires. Remember, damaged wiring could lead to a potentially flammable short circuit. Throw away any damaged items and replace them with new, remember Safety first!

Choose the Right Lights:

  • Pick lights designed for their intended use – indoors or outdoors.
  • Read those package instructions! Don’t exceed the recommended wattage.
  • Only buy decorations from a reputable dealer who knows the electrical equipment safety requirements. Christmas lights must meet safety standards and are required to have an Australian certificate of approval. 

Extension Cord and Plug Safety

  • Don’t overload those extension cords – it’s a recipe for overheating and potential fire hazards.
  • Keep that third prong on plugs intact – it’s your friend against electrical shock.
  • Outdoor decorations? Plug them into Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) for that added layer of protection.

Product Safety Guidelines:

  • Stick to reputable sources for your electrical products.
  • Watch out for typos – they might signal a dodgy or counterfeit product.
  • Check for the approval mark of an accredited certification agency; it’s your guarantee of meeting safety standards.

Installing Decorations:

  • Connect a maximum of three light strings – follow those manufacturer’s instructions.
  • No bulbs touching anything they shouldn’t!
  • Keep an eye out for overhead power lines – safety first, even on a ladder.
  • Don’t put Christmas lighting around or above swimming pools or have leads lying in water or wet areas 

Additional Safety Tips:

  • Beware of buying Christmas lights 
  • Ensure you have working smoke detectors.
  • Check that you have safety switches on all circuits and that your safety switches work – push the test button.
  • Ensure that you have no double adapters on power boards
  • Ensure all outdoor connections are weatherproof!
  • Ensure lights are extra low voltage.
  • Don’t put Christmas lighting around or above swimming pools or have leads lying in water or wet areas.
  • Ensure that lights are clear of power lines and driveways.
  • Keep decorations out of reach of children and away from curious pets.
  • Turn off outdoor lighting in rainy and stormy weather.
  • Turn off indoor and outdoor lights when you leave the house or hit the hay.

Indoor and Outdoor Lights Distinction:

  • Use lights where they’re meant to be used – indoors or outdoors.
  • Outdoor lights need that weatherproof rating (look for the IP number), and some might need transformers indoors.

Buying Christmas Lights:

  • Beware of buying Christmas lights from overseas as they have different safety standards, and their products may be unsafe for use here in Australia. Electrical equipment sold in Australia must meet strict electrical safety standards. 
  • Stick to reputable dealers with that Aussie certification.
  • Say no to online Christmas lights shopping from overseas – let’s keep it safe and local!

Visit www.eess.gov.au to search for registered products.

Connecting Safely:

  • Install a safety switch – test it out before the grand lighting ceremony.
  • Use power boards with overload protection – and ditch those double adaptors.
  • Check all leads for damage and unwind those extension leads to prevent overheating, discontinue and throw out if damage and replace with new.
  • Use extra low voltage outside, such as LED and solar lights where possible.

For more comprehensive electrical safety tips visit https://www.electricalsafety.qld.gov.au/electrical-equipment/christmas-lights

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