HSfB Blog

Faulty Electrics could ruin more than just Christmas

faulty electrics

New research commissioned by the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation (NICEIC) and ELECSA, has found that faulty electrics could be responsible for ruining more than just Christmas this year.

The headline finding form NICEIC, the leading regulatory body for electricians, and ELECSA, one of the most trusted Part P schemes, is that 19 million homes are at risk of a fire this Christmas. 

The research found that UK homeowners are becoming increasingly complacent when it comes to checking the electrics in their homes, despite 80 percent admitting to going ‘over the top’ when it comes to Christmas lights and decorations.  



Aesthetics more important than safety’

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

In fact, only 23 percent 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. 

Electrical wholesaler Harry Burton of www.theelectricalwholesaler.co.uk said:

“As a supplier of Christmas lights this news is quite concerning. Everyone wants their house to look good at Christmas, but electrical safety can’t be overlooked.”

Nearly half have never had their electrics checked

Perhaps the most shocking finding was that nearly half of the householders surveyed (49 percent) 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 three percent 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 percent of householders admit to using the same lights year after year without properly checking them first; 30 percent use the same lights they have used for five years or more; while 47 percent said they did not understand the significance of the British Safety Kitemark.

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, NICEIC and ELECSA have compiled these five top tips:

Do not overload sockets – Avoid the use of extension sockets and adapters whenever possible and never plug multiple extensions into one another.

Do not rewire lights – Some homeowners are tempted to rewire two, three or even four sets of lights into a single plug. This is extremely 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 left on during waking hours and while 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. 

For more information please refer to the Christmas safety tips from NICEIC and ELECSA