Missing just over 10 days to Christmas and we are all struggling with the Christmas decorations: balls, ornaments and, above all, lights. Light is essential to create that family atmosphere that accompanies this time of year. In my post written a few days ago I gave you some indication of just how to decorate the exterior of the house with the lights, but today I want to deal with a very important issue: the safety of Christmas lights. We must be absolutely certain that the lights we buy are safe and of quality, to prevent short circuits and fires that could transform one of the most beautiful times of the year in a drama.
Below I will list you the guidelines provided for the European regulations regarding Christmas lights (lighting chains).
If you already have at home the lights, check them to know if they scrupulously respect the provisions of the law. If you are buying new, ask only to retailers that you trust and above all read carefully the labels.
Labeling guidelines of Christmas lights (incandescent and LED)
Christmas lights must follow the requirements of the European standard EN 60598-2-20 Lighting chains.
First of all, on packaging must be indicated clearly and unambiguously the name of the manufacturer or importer or seller responsible. Without this indication it means that there is a problem and so do not purchase or use this lighting chain.
The light chains must be marked on the lamp holder or cable, or on a durable sheath not separable or label attached to the cable with the following information:
- Origin marking (in the form of registered trademark, trademark identification of the manufacturer or the name of the manufacturer, importer or responsible seller);
- Type of reference, the manufacturer’s model number or any other element that can be identified;
- Symbol and / or indication of protection against electric shock identified only between the Class II and Class III (it does not conform a class I chain);
- Marking of the degree of protection against ingress of dust and moisture (IPXX) or the caveat that the chain is only for internal use (in this case the chain is IP20);
I resume you some main info about IP protection:
IP20: requires a mandatory indication of the type “indoor use only“. The cable must be of H03VH7-H type. The plug is typical for interiors.
IP44: requires that is explained that it is for outdoor use. The cable must be of the type H03RNF. The plug is typical for external use.
- Nominal voltage (volts) and power rating (Watt) of the complete chain;
- Voltage and power of replaceable lamps (in the case of products with lamps replaceable);
- The symbol of the nature of the current or the nominal frequency (Hz);
- Note with the following meaning: “only use the replaceable lamps same type that came with the light chain “(in the case of products with lamps replaceable);
- Maximum number of chains that can be interconnected or the maximum current total that can cross the supplied connectors;
The lighting chains must be accompanied (this indication has to stay on the packaging or in the enclosed leaflet) by having the following warnings meaning:
- “Do not connect the chain to the power while it is still in pack “(except if the packaging has been designed to show the chain on).
- The light chains with not replaceable bulbs must be accompanied by the following: “non-replaceable lamps“.
For lighting chains with replaceable lamps (usually chains with incandescent lamps, not LED), the following indications should be visible:
- “Do not remove or insert the bulbs when the chain is connected to the power “;
- “Immediately replace faulty lamps with the same voltage lamps and power to avoid overheating (for lamps connected in series). This requirement does not apply to sealed chains;
- “Ensure all lamp holders are fitted with lamp“;
In lighting chains with lamps connected in series and using lamps fuses must be visible the following warning:
- “Do not replace a fuse lamp with a lamp (not fused)“.
The bright chains fitted with fuse bulbs must also be accompanied by information indicating the means for the identification of fuses lamps (example: a special color);
The lighting chains that use gaskets to ensure the degree of protection specified against dust and moisture must also be accompanied by information having the following meaning:
- “Warning – This lighting chain must not be used when all seals are not in position “;
The lighting chains are not required to interconnect with other chains should be accompanied by a warning with the following meaning:
- “Not electrically connect the chain to another chain“;
The bright chains with unnormalized lamps (for example of plug-type) must be accompanied by a statement clarifying that the lamps used for the replacement must be of the same type as the one provided or type specified by the manufacturer.
In the case of light tubes (light chains sealed, with no light source replaceable and locked in a rigid or flexible tube) remains valid as previously indicated on the light chains.
Provides additional information and specific warnings relating to:
– Minimum bending radius allowed (before a break) in the case of tubes bright semi-rigid or flexible;
– Warning that have the following meaning: “Do not open or cut the rope light“;
– Warning about not use the chain when covered or encased in a surface;
– Warning about not use the rope light first to make sure that all seals are not in position;
– Do not connect the rope light with products from other manufacturers;
– Connections must only be made using supplied connectors by the company;
– Maximum length of the interconnected system;
– Maximum voltage of the interconnected system;
– All terminals openings must be sealed before use;
– For light tubes that incorporate bridge devices it is necessary that such information is indicated.
Notes and additional information for non-LED light chain:
The light bulb must have a high mechanical strength or a double protection (via plastic coating) such as to avoid, in case of rupture, the contact with the live conductor.
Since the light chains are to be suitable for installation on surfaces flammable, they do not require mandatory labeling nor any specific warning.