You know it's getting close to Christmas when your television starts playing adverts for the 'NEW' must have children's toys or the Coca Cola Truck advert is being played repeatedly during every commercial break, shouting loudly from the roof tops, that the those pesky... "HOLIDAYS ARE COMING!"
But even more obvious is that X-Factor is being drummed into our ears, draining our every living fibre... in the run up to grabbing that illustrious "Christmas No.1 Slot", which in the past was only ever reserved for the likes of Sir Cliff Richard or Band Aid!!
Sadly, Christmas is also a time of year when the risk of fire related incidents in home increases dramatically, and often caused by poor quality Christmas lights. Thankfully, trends are veering more and more towards LED Christmas lights, which have major advantages in terms of fire safety.
So, before you dig out those old lights from the loft for yet another year, consider replacing them instead. Inevitably, setting up traditional mains powered fairy lights will include tracking down the one bulb that has blown and untying the knots in the cable which you tried so hard to avoid when putting them away 12 months previously!! As we all know, this is often accompanied by a barrage of foul language, that only a football crowd would be proud of!! And to top it off, just as you get them onto the tree and switch them on, another bulb blows.
A blown bulb in a mains-powered traditional set of lights causes the other lights to burn hotter ...so the more bulbs blown, the hotter the other lights burn.
Now, imagine the effect of a super-hot string of bulbs on a Christmas tree that has been drying out since it was cut down weeks before.
It's a fir-tree-fueled fire waiting to happen.
Now, you may be wondering why FSC (Nationwide) Ltd., are so keen on LED lights when we don't actually sell them. The answer is simple; we want every UK home to be as well protected against fire as possible. We would rather give you advice, than push for a profit... hence our mantra:
"FIRE SAFETY COMES BEFORE PROFIT!"
LED lights are always cool to the touch, unlike traditional fairy lights, and since LED lights are much more efficient at converting electricity into light, with less energy lost through heat. They use less power too; some manufacturers claim they save 90% electricity in comparison to normal bulbs, as traditional fairy lights often run at 140w.
LED Christmas lights also last much longer, up to 10 years' use, or 100,000 hours, if handled and used correctly. With no delicate filament to break, and double-sealed so that the bulb can't come loose. If a bulb does fail, just leave it: the rest will remain 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. The IP rating refers to the protection provided against objects and fluids; the two numbers indicate the rating level. For example, an IP44 rated lighting string is "Protected against solid objects over 1mm (tools / wires / small wires)" as indicated by the first number 4, and also is "Protected against water sprayed from all directions - limited ingress permitted" as indicated by the second number 4.
Some manufacturers offer connecting light systems that allow you to connect several strings of lights to each other, powered by just one transformer unit. This reduces the number of 13 amp sockets involved and eliminates those trip-hazard power cable tangles.
So, you can hang long strings of multi-coloured LED Christmas lights in your home much more safely. (Note: FSC (Nationwide) do not recommend placing any form of christmas lighting ON any type of furnishing).
If a bulb does get accidentally broken, the low voltage ensures that children or pets won't receive a nasty shock if they touch it. However, you should always keep cabling, lights and transformers out of reach to both tiny hands and canine/feline teeth...
Unfortunately, all low voltage LED lights do have one part that can get very warm indeed; the transformer. Always place your transformer off carpets and away from furnishings, and where the air can circulate round it to keep it cool. NEVER cover your transformer by tucking it behind curtains, and never pile presents (although this is Santa's job anyway, so you may want to leave him a note), so close round the tree that they touch the transformer. If there is one thing that burns quicker than dry Christmas trees, it's Christmas wrapping paper.
Always unplug your lights when you retire at night, or put them on a timer, so you are not wasting electricity putting on a light show that only your cat can appreciate. This also gives the transformer time to cool down properly, reducing the risk of overheating.
If after all the effort of putting up your lights, you've left no time to buy presents, don't worry... as surely that's for Santa to worry about..??
For more advice on how to stay safe this Christmas ...or any other time of the year for that matter - why not take a look at our blog about creating your own Fire Safety Plan in the home!!
Alternatively, please feel free to contact us here at FSC (Nationwide) Ltd., on (0161) 298 4999 or fill in our online form, which you can get to by clicking on the following link: CONTACT US HERE
If you enjoyed this little read, then why not leave us a comment below and tell us what you thought.
But for now, let us here are FSC (Nationwide) Ltd., wish you all a Very Merry (and SAFE) Christmas and a Happy New Year!!