Keep your lights twinkling this Christmas

Thursday 10th November 2022

It’s coming up to the time of year where we retrieve our Christmas lights from the loft, shed or garage ready to light up those dark December evenings. However, poorly stored, and old electrical decorations and overloaded sockets can create unnecessary hazards at this time of year. As experienced, reliable electricians, we have some tips to keep you and your family safe this Christmas.

Indoor lights

When unpacking the lights ensure you look for signs of damage before putting them up. If they are damaged, avoid using them and take care to recycle them responsibly. When checking your lights, unplug them from the wall before removing or replacing bulbs. Never do this when they are plugged in, as it can be very dangerous.

Older 240v mains fairy lights are dangerous when they become damaged. Not only can a blown bulb cause electrocution, but it can also cause other bulbs to become very hot with the increased voltage. Therefore, it’s important to change blown bulbs quickly, and with the power off.

As they can get very hot, older fairy lights are a fire hazard when placed near combustible materials, such as trees – especially real trees as they dry out. As such, these lights are not recommended.

If you are purchasing new lights, buy them from a reputable store; don’t take the risk of buying dodgy lights. Avoid cutting corners by buying second-hand or from an untrustworthy source. Which? tested a selection of Christmas tree lights bought from eBay, Wish, and Amazon and found 90% of them failed to meet UK safety standards!

If you do purchase used lights then make sure that they are PAT tested first, to be on the safe side. Even low voltage Christmas fairy lights require a transformer that is plugged into the mains supply, and this type of appliance is subject to PAT testing. If your lights do not display any indication of them having been tested when buying them second-hand, then it is extremely vital that you get them checked by a professional electrician

ACJ Electrical Installations recommend you use LED fairy lights for indoor use as they operate at a lower voltage and remain cool to the touch. They are also far more durable and less likely to break and more energy efficient, saving you up to 90% on energy costs. If a bulb does fail, just leave it: the rest should continue to be lit.

The best quality LED Christmas lights have full rubber cabling (to IP44 standard) and an IP64 grade transformer suitable for use both indoors and outdoors.

Extension Leads

Not having enough vacant plug sockets around the home is an issue that many of us now face. An increase in electrical goods without the installation of wall sockets leaves us with only one option; the use of extension leads. We would recommend that you never overcrowd an electrical socket outlet and only use extension leads when absolutely necessary

Plugging too many lights into your extension leads can cause the plug in the wall socket to overheat, melt or potentially catch fire, leading to a small domestic fire in your home. Just because the extension lead has space for four or six items, it doesn’t always mean it is safe to do so.

  • Check the current rating of the extension lead before plugging appliances into it. Most are rated at 13A, but some are rated at only 10A or less – the rating should be clearly marked on the back or underside of the extension lead. If not, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never overload an extension lead by plugging in appliances that together will exceed the maximum current rating stated for the extension lead. This could cause the plug in the wall socket to overheat and possibly cause a fire.
  • Only use one socket extension lead per socket and never plug an extension lead into another extension lead. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to an electrical overload.
  • Use a multi-way bar extension lead rather than a block adaptor, as this will put less strain on the wall socket. Some block adaptors do not have a fuse, which increases the risk of overloading and fire.
  • Check regularly for the following danger signs:
  • a smell of hot plastic or burning near an appliance or socket
  • sparks or smoke coming from a plug or appliance
  • blackness or scorch marks around a socket or plug, or on an appliance
  • damaged or frayed leads
  • coloured wire inside leads showing at the plug or anywhere else
  • melted plastic on appliance casings or leads
  • fuses that blow or circuit-breakers that operate for no obvious reason

Consider having additional sockets installed if you regularly rely on extension leads and adaptors. Be sure to use a registered electrician (such as ACJ Electrical Installations) to carry out the installation work to your property. As electricians based in Bordon, we provide installations service within a 30-mile radius of Farnham, Aldershot and Guildford.

Outdoor Christmas Lights

Outdoor Christmas lighting is a tradition many look forward to on those dark winter evenings. However, are you sure that your Christmas lighting has been set up safely.

When putting up outdoor Christmas lighting, it is important to use lights that are intended for outdoor use. Indoor lights do not belong outdoors. Moisture can easily penetrate the string lights and cause short-circuiting. Outdoor Christmas lighting is more resilient quality-wise and is better at withstanding damp, frost, and strong winds

When attaching lights to your guttering or porch roof, use plastic clip holders rather than metal nails or staplers. This will reduce the risk of any conduction of electricity through the metal and will cause less damage to your house. Also, if you use them sensibly, they’ll be fine to use next year too.

Combining LED lights with a timer function ensures that your electricity bill for outdoor Christmas lights is kept to a minimum. Another advantage of outdoor Christmas lighting with an on/off feature is that you can reduce your energy consumption during the day when the lighting is not visible anyway.

If you use an extension cord for your outdoor Christmas lights, the connections must be tightly sealed for the device to be suitable for outdoor use.

Alternatively, why not have weatherproof outdoor sockets installed? These are well insulated and will provide a safe power supply to use anytime, not just at Christmas.

For a quote to keep your Christmas Merry & Bright, visit



Get In Touch

Three ways to contact us below.