Well this is a bit of a bummer as we get ready for Christmas. We hope you haven't put up your lights yet, because you might be getting ready to take them back down again.
Much of what is sold as outdoor Christmas lighting in Ireland is not suitable for our climate and can represent a real danger to the growing army of outdoor decorators, a lighting expert has claimed.
A combination of unsuitable outdoor Christmas lighting and safety shortcuts could prove lethal in the run-up to the festive season according to the man known as Mr Christmas Lighting.
“Many of the lights being sold in Ireland are marked for both indoor and outdoor use – which leads people to think that they are safe for both,” said Gabriel Byrne of Fantasy Lights.
“However, not only are these lights and decorations usually unsuitable for our climate, in many cases they represent a real danger to the user if the transformer is plugged in out of doors.
“The rule of thumb for outdoor lighting is if there are pins on the plugs, keep them indoors.
“If you are using outdoor lighting, then you must use specific low-voltage outdoor transformers, which are weatherproof, IP-rated, hardwired, and use rubberised cables.”
Mr Byrne warned against taking shortcuts with potentially lethal equipment.
“A lot of electrical issues arise when people connect different lighting sets together, and we would ask householders to make sure that your lights are from the same manufacturer and are of the same quality and standard,” he said.
“While we use weatherproof connections on all of our joints, I shudder sometimes when I see some of the chances people take with electricity when it comes close to the festive season.
“I have seen instances of people putting transformers and extension cables in plastic bags to shield them from the elements – which is extremely dangerous when dealing with what is high-voltage electricity in a damp environment.
“In the Irish climate, plastic cables tend to pull apart very easily, creating dangerous situations especially when lights are at ground level or wrapped around trees, within reach of children or pets.
“People might notice that when they go to put lights back up after one year’s use that they are all brown and may not work.
“That is simply due to poor quality and the product not being suitable for our inclement weather.”