Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the ritual of getting boxes of lights down from lofts, untangling them and balancing on ladders to put them up, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Here’s our guide to getting the most out of your illuminations.
Christmas tree lights
Everyone loves a sparkly Christmas tree, but those innocent-seeming coloured lights could spoil your celebrations. Back in 2002, an estimated 350 people visited A&E after domestic accidents involving Christmas lights*, while in 2011/12 fairy lights caused 20 house fires and Christmas trees and decorations were responsible for another 47.
If the box of lights has spent the previous year in a damp place and smells musty when opened, or your lights are several years old, or there’s evidence of mouse damage such as chewed cables, discard the lights and replace them. Newer ones will meet higher safety standards.
Leave lights switched off until you’ve finished decorating the tree, don’t leave them burning when the house is empty and don’t let young children play with them. A simple way to make sure lights aren’t left burning overnight is to install a time clock.
Exterior Christmas lights
Whether it’s a string of white lanterns in a tree or a riot of reindeers on the roof, exterior Christmas lights need to be installed carefully.
Start by testing the lights while you’re still on the ground. If your lights are a few years old, consider investing in some new LED lights which are much more energy efficient and won’t over-heat. If you’re running lights alone the edge of a building, attach them with specialist clips which will hold them securely. Consider fitting a time clock or a photocell sensor which will turn your lights on at dusk.
When using a ladder, always make sure it’s securely placed on a firm, level surface and you have someone to help steady it or to hand you up your equipment.
Interior Christmas lights
When choosing a location for interior lights, keep them away from candles, open fires and doorways and make sure the cables aren’t a tripping hazard. Always use a stepladder to install rather than just standing on a chair, and hang them high enough that small children or pets can’t grab at them.
Storing Christmas lights
Once Christmas is over, check your lights again and replace any lamps that aren’t working. Wrap the cable round a winder (you can make your own from wood) and store them in a cool, dry place until next year.
At KDE Ltd, we’ll supply and fit a variety of Christmas lights to help your festivities go with a swing. Call us today on 01928 711444 for a chat about how we can help.