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Many Merry Christmas Lights

Merry Christmas everyone! Today is the day that all those lights, decorations, and hours spent on cooking finally pay off. The day when everyone can relax and enjoy time off, whether you’re celebrating Christmas or not. So today, let’s take a look at how it’s possible to save on winter electricity costs with good Christmas light choices.

Incandescent Lights

A string of standard incandescent Christmas lights typically uses 50-60 watts of energy. For the few strands of lights it takes to brighten your Christmas tree, a child’s room, and the mantelpiece above the fireplace, that’s not a very expensive proposition.

A strand of 50 C7 lightbulbs, the type designed as bright exterior decorations, is closer to 300 watts per light string. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average cost of electricity across the nation is 12.5 cents per kWh. It’s slightly cheaper in Washington, so let’s round down to 10 cents per kWh.

If a single strand of C7 lights is 300 watts, or .3 kW, then operating that same strand for 5 hours a night over a 30-day span leaves you with a cost of $4.50. That’s $4.50 per light string, per month. Even a mildly decorated home can be looking at energy costs of around $50 per month in lighting.

Ways to Save

So what can you do to save on money? Well the most obvious thing is to reduce the on-time of your lights, or the number of lights in your home. The most common times for Christmas light drives are from 8-10 PM. Running your lights for only 2 to 2.5 hours will halve the energy cost.

Of course, if you’re willing to spend more money for next year’s lights, LEDs use far less energy. A comparable string of LED lights to the C7 light bulb example will be up to 80% cheaper than traditional incandescents. Plus, they’re less susceptible to damage than glass bulbs, giving you more seasons of enjoyment than older bulbs.

To be clear:

  • Run lights for shorter times
  • Use fewer Christmas lights
  • Use LED light bulbs

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For more information on home and business electrical inspections, visit Mainstream Electric online.