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After being stored away for 12 months, Christmas lights can easily become electrically unsafe. To prevent the most common problems with and enjoy a safe festive season by following these simple precautions and checks recommended by Electrical Safety First.


  • Read and follow the manufacturers' instructions
  • Check your Christmas lights are not damaged or broken before use and look out for loose wires
  • Use only replacement bulbs of the same type and rating as those originally supplied with the lights
  • Ensure all outdoor lights are connected via a 30mA RCD protected socket
  • Replace failed lamps immediately to prevent overheating
  • Ensure plugs and transformers are plugged in indoors, even if the lighting is suitable for outdoor use
  • Switch your lights off and unplug them before you go to bed or go out
  • Keep lights away from flammable decorations and materials that can burn easily


  • Use lights outdoors unless they are specially designed for such use
  • Connect different lighting sets together
  • Connect lights to the supply whilst still in the packaging
  • Remove or insert lamps while the chain is connected to the supply
  • Overload sockets - try to avoid the use of extension leads or adaptors
  • Attempt to repair faulty lights - replace them
  • Use lights that are damaged or faulty. Electrical Safety First recommends the use of LED over traditional filament Christmas lighting because:
    • They operate at extra-low voltage which significantly reduces the risk of electric shock.
    • They use much less power, generating little heat and so reducing the risk of fire and burns. This makes them safer to use.
    • They are estimated to use 80-90% less electricity than filament lamps so they are less expensive to run and typically last up to 60 times longer.
    • They are more durable. Because LED lights are made of a special plastic with no filament, there are no glass lamps to break.
    • They are a great deal more efficient to run and good at saving energy so are more environmentally friendly.

Follow the guidance in this safety document – it provides some helpful information.