It might be the “most wonderful time of the year” according to Andy Williams, but he forgot how this time of year leaves us with strained budgets in January. In addition to the burden of purchasing gifts, extra food and traveling dilemmas, we also anticipate being slammed with higher than average electricity bills produced by Christmas lights.
According to Business Insider, the average U.S. citizen spent approximately $47 on holiday decor in 2011. With a strand of lights costing between $5 and $20, you could spend $40+ easily on new lights for your Christmas tree or for outside decoration, in addition to running those lights. According to the California Consumer Energy Center:
- If you hang one set of stringed lights outside and light them for 150 hours in one month, you would pay anywhere from 69 cents (miniature lights) to $3 for C9 lights. Icicle lights consume the same amount of electricity as miniature lights.
- Burning inside lights for 300 hours/30 days will cost you about $1.40 for miniature lights, $4.30 for C7 lights and $6 for C9 lights.
- Your electricity bill for December could see an increase of a few dollars to as high as $50, depending on the type of lights you use and how long you use them.
It doesn’t seem that expensive until you start hanging more than one or two strands of lights and forgetting to turn them off at night! So how do you save money this holiday season? Aside from turning off lights, one way to save money is to use LED lighting.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are one of the most energy-efficient lighting technologies available today. Unlike incandescent bulbs, LEDs emit minimal heat and send light in a specific direction. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, widespread use of LED lights by the year 2027 could save Americans an electrical output of 44 large power plants, and a total savings of at least $30 billion. Because of their technology, LEDs use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. LED Christmas lights average a lifespan 66 times longer than incandescent lighting, yet costs 10 times as less to operate per 10 mini strings.
With these statistics in mind, it’s important for those that use Christmas lights to be mindful of their electricity this winter. Turning off the lights or even going to downscale the lights this winter can be a good first step. Also decide whether you want to use lights outdoors, or stick with a plain, traditional Christmas tree. These steps will help you have a bright, efficient Christmas.