Faulty electrics could be responsible for ruining more than just Christmas this year.

Aesthetics are more important than safety’

It’ll come as no surprise that 90% of the 2,000 UK tenants and homeowners canvassed in a recent survey said they would be decorating their homes this Christmas. What’s more surprising is perhaps the fact that 42% admitted to paying more attention to the way their property looked than its safety.

In fact, only 23% said they would spend any time at all considering the safety implications of their Christmas decorations, or the impact they could have on their electrics.

Nearly half have never had their electrics checked

Perhaps the most shocking finding was that nearly half of the householders surveyed (49%) said they had never checked the electrics in their property, and did not know when the electrics had last been checked before they moved in.

The Christmas period is particularly high risk in terms of house fires as a result of the increased use of decorative lights, multiple sockets and extension leads. However, despite the potential risk of overloading sockets, or the damage that could be caused by Christmas lights that have spent the last year in the attic, only 3% were concerned about the potential damage that could be caused.

The main causes for concern

The most common problem that occurs at Christmas is the overloading of sockets by people using too many lights in their gardens, which can put their electrical systems under a huge amount of strain.

Further problems are caused by the fact that 57% of householders admit to using the same lights year after year without properly checking them first; 30% use the same lights they have used for five years or more; while 47% said they did not understand the significance of the British Safety Kitemark / CE mark.

Faulty electrics cause 20,000 house fires every year

In a bid to reduce the number of house fires caused at this time of year, here are 5 tips;

Don’t overload sockets – Avoid the use of extension sockets and adaptors whenever possible and never plug multiple extensions into one another.

Don’t rewire lights – Some homeowners are tempted to rewire two, three or even four sets of lights into a single plug. This is VERY dangerous and can cause a house fire.

Only use outside lights that are certified for external use – Only use garden lights that have been designed specifically for use outdoors.

Never leave lights on overnight or when you go out – Homeowners can sometimes leave lights on when they go out, overnight or for long periods. Christmas lights should only be on during waking hours and whilst the homeowner is at home.

Only use lights that have been certified for use – Christmas lights that do not have the European Standards Symbol (represented by a CE) or the British Standards Kitemark should not be used.