Be a bright spark this Christmas and ditch the dodgy lighting
Sparkies are warning Santa’s Christmas helpers to take every precaution to protect Australian children from dodgy Christmas light displays this festive season.
Electrical industry and safety advocates Master Electricians Australia has issued an alert to consumers to take extra care purchasing and installing Christmas light displays.
“We’re seeing more and more people get into the festive spirit to light up the neighbourhood but unfortunately, more people are also buying suspect LED lights from overseas or installing lighting without the safety backup necessary to provide adequate protection,’’ Master Electricians Australia CEO Malcolm Richards said.
“Kids love these displays but that’s why homeowners need to make sure they have the right layers of safety protection in place to prevent any accidents.’’
Arana Hills homeowner Ingrid Moyle and daughters Rachel and Teagan Cliff have been lighting up their neighbourhood each Christmas since the girls, now 24 and 21, were small.
“It’s just such a great way to meet people and bring the neighbourhood together,’’ Ms Moyle said. “It’s wonderful to see the kids’ faces light up and their parents unplug and start to relax when they come around the corner and see our place.
“Christmas lights are that little bit of magic that just sparks joy. Of course, it’s hard work for us, but it’s worth it.
“Having children around means you have to be so careful about electrical safety.’’
Master Electricians Australia vice-president and sparkie Chris Lehmann has provided electrical installation and advice for Ms Moyle’s home through its evolution as a dearly loved Christmas lights attraction.
He advised homeowners to buy lighting products only from recognised retailers to ensure the products they are using meet Australian standards.
“Don’t be tempted to buy LED lights online or at the markets, even if local stores such as Kmart, Bunnings and other reputable resellers look like they’ve run low on stock,’’ Mr Lehmann warned.
“LED lights from overseas might be cheap but more than likely they won’t meet Australian standards.’’
He also advised consumers to install safety switches, never to run 240-volt power leads to the outside, to garden beds, for example, and warned not to use indoor lights outside.
“Make sure you use or have approved outdoor connection boxes installed,’’ Mr Lehmann said. “Before you plug any lights in, look them over for any cuts, nicks, exposed wire or discoloration to fittings.
“Basically, look it over and if it doesn’t look right don’t use it or get it checked, preferably by a Master Electrician.’’
Christmas safety checklist
- Check for an Australian Approval number when purchasing lights such as Q12345, V01294, or N12345. Most times this is on the transformer.
- Visit www.recalls.gov.au to check for any recalled Christmas lights – even the best retailers issue these from time to time.
- Ensure you have safety switches installed – preferably on all circuits in your home, but definitely on the circuits powering your Christmas lights. Check they work by pushing the test button and seeing the lights go out.
- Only use lights designed for external use. Generally, these types will have a transformer
- Use extra low voltage lights – look for lights with a transformer
- Ensure your outdoor connections are weatherproofed
- Do not piggyback double adapters or power boards
- Always keep clear of powerlines, swimming pools, driveways, and walkways
- Do not run 240-volt cabling to outside garden beds and lighting
- Always turn off outdoor lights during rain or storms
- Go solar if you can – it’s better for the environment, and safer for you
- If you haven’t already, now is a good time to install smoke detectors around the house.
- Check old and new lighting for defects. if in doubt, call a Master Electrician to have it checked out.
- Secure outdoor lights to fixtures and keep out of children’s reach
- If you’ve had a safety switch for some time, call a Master Electrician to have it checked.
For further information: Please phone The SAS Group on (07) 3221 9222 or 0467 792 013.