The Unexpected Dangers Of Christmas Lights

It seems that every year the bar is raised higher and higher in the neighbourhood Christmas lights competition.

Displays are bigger and brighter, with more and more lights added each successive year. Home owners go to a lot of trouble and some of the displays look quite impressive, but did you know there is a dark side to those festive lights?

There are a number of injuries and even deaths each year directly attributed to Christmas lights.  Electrocution, fire and falling off roofs can make the quest for festive lighting a hazardous endeavour.

The major source of problems are old and poorly maintained light strings.

That old set of Christmas tree lights you’ve been dragging out every December for a couple of decades should probably be replaced.  Any lights that operate with 240 volts at the lamp have the potential to cause electric shock or start a fire.

Old Christmas lights can also cause overloaded circuits, a problem that has been solved by new LED lights.

LEDs are ideal for Christmas lights due to their low power consumption, low voltage power supplies and the range of colours that can be produced.  Even with new LED lights there are safety issues you need to to be aware of.

You should only buy your Christmas lights from a reputable local retailer to ensure they are safe and approved for use in Australia.

If you buy online make sure your lights are sent from an Australian based distributor and not sent direct to you from overseas.  It doesn’t guarantee the safety of the lights but it does give you an opportunity to seek redress in the event of a problem.

If you import any electrical product direct from overseas you assume all the responsibilities of an importer and will be personally liable for any problems the lights cause.

If some one is injured by non-compliant lights you will be responsible.  If you home is damaged by fire due to faulty Christmas lights your insurance company may not pay if the lights that caused the damage were not approved for use in Australia.

The usual commonsense safety measures still apply to low voltage or LED lights.

Don’t use lights that have damaged cords, broken lamps or damaged power supplies.

Don’t mix old and new light strings, they are probably not compatible.

Do keep power packs and extension cord connections out of the weather.

Do use a proper ladder for accessing your roof and make sure it is footed correctly and secured at the top if possible.

Do ensure that any lights you buy are approved for use in Australia.

While a good display of Christmas lights can look amazing, some people go just a little too far.

Last year a Townsville man disconnected the street light outside his home in order to make his lighting display stand out more effectively. He removed the cover from the base of the pole and pulled apart the live wiring connections, which disabled the  street light but created a very dangerous situation.

Enjoy your festive lighting display but make sure you keep your family safe as well.

For advice and help with all lighting issues phone us on 6331 4711.  Mance Electrical Launceston

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