Stay safe this Christmas

So it's that time of year that trees go up, and lights come down (from the loft!) I'm sat here looking at my Christmas tree this very minute, and happy with it I am too!

How safe is your set up? People often worry about Christmas tree lights, with stories from yesteryear where it just wasn't Christmas yet until Grandad taken an electric shock from the lights on the tree, or the cat frazzled itself while biting through the cable. Thankfully, those days should have passed now, and most Christmas tree lights sold in the UK are now extra low voltage LEDs, with a transformer taking the voltage down from 230V to 12V or possibly 24V. Much safer levels.

But there are still a few things to bear in mind when putting up your lights. Although the LEDs are much less likely to get hot than bulbs, there is now a transformer that could get warm (just like the transformer in a phone charger does.) So try to place the transformer somewhere that won't make it overheat. Don't hide it under the curtains, and certainly try not to cover it with presents wrapped in lovely dry, flammable wrapping paper.

Some tree lights are still 240V, but the safety features built into your home will make these much safer than they once were. If you have a modern consumer unit fitted with protection by means of a residual current device (RCD), then should your cat chomp through the cable, the RCD will detect that there is a problem and will close the circuit very quickly (maximum of 0.3 seconds but generally within 0.04 seconds.) More than quick enough to stop any life threatening shocks.

If you don't have RCD protection on your fuse box/consumer unit then how about a new year's resolution to get that sorted in 2017?