Oh Christmas Tree!! Why are you so pricey?? Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE holiday lights. But between spending money on gifts, décor and the tree, the last thing you may be thinking of is energy savings! Take a look at our top tips for lowering your energy bill during the holiday season.
How to Save Energy This Christmas
1. Consider LED lights.
Old incandescent holiday lights can fade with time, and typically end up in landfills. No one wants that! We now have the option of LED ENERGY STAR ® light strands that will brighten your home, and lower your bill! These bulbs can use up to 70% less energy than traditional light bulbs. Plus, they’re saver too! They are much cooler than incandescent lights. Consider making the switch this holiday season!
2. Use Timers!
Limit your hourly usage by installing timers. Set the lights to automatically turn on when it starts getting dark, and off in the middle of the night when you’re not enjoying the lights! Plus, now you don’t have to worry about remembering to turn off your lights before hitting the hay.
3. Limit the Lights You Use.
If you have decked your halls from top to bottom, and illuminated every tree in your yard, you may not need as many lights on inside the house. Your Christmas tree and other decorative holiday lights may give off enough light to save you from turning on an extra lamp or two. Plus, the dim lighting makes winter nights extra cozy!
4. Add Candles!
Candles are a great decorating option because they give off warm, glowing light. Plus, they use zero energy! If you are concerned about safety, especially around little kids and pets, use battery operated flameless candles. They provide all the ambiance you want, without the mess or worry of an open flame.
5. Use Fiber Optic Decorations
Fiber optics are the ultimate energy-saving decorations! Typically, they only use a single light bulb, and the fibers in the decoration illuminate throughout. The fiber optic trees also tend to operate from LED lights, which equates to even more savings!
How much electricity do your Christmas lights use
What if we wanted to get an actual estimate of how much energy our lights are using? Let’s take a look.
First, we’ll figure out how much energy one strand of lights uses. We’ll take a strand of 100 incandescent lights to use as an example. The wattage can usually be found on the tag or packaging. You can also use wattage calculating devices. On average, a strand of this variety will run at approximately 40 watts.
The average price of electricity is 11.3 cents per kilo-watt hour. This number will vary depending on where you live.
If you are using a strand of 100 lights as a baseline, estimate how many strands you are using as part of your décor. Factor in your tree, outdoor lighting, additional indoor lighting, etc. in order to come up with a total watt approximation.
To find the kilo-watt hour value, multiply your total wattage number by 0.001.
If you approximate that your Christmas lights are on for a total of 5 hours per day, you’ll multiply your kilo-watt hour number by 5. Once you have this number, multiplying it by 30 will give you your seasonal number. Take this number and multiply it by 11.3 (or use the actual number on your electric bill) and you’ll have your total cost for the month.
Solutions for Cutting Cost
Downsizing your tree by just 1-foot could reduce the amount of lights you use by 50-100 depending on the type of bulb.
The recommended amount of Christmas lights for a 6-foot tree is 600 mini lights or 450 standard LED lights. This means you save time because you have fewer strands to put on the tree and less to store throughout the rest of the year.
Upgrading Your Christmas Lights
Christmas lights have come a long way. If you are still using the older incandescent lights, you might be surprised just how much you can save by recycling the old lights and replacing them with energy efficient LED lights. LED lighting burns a much smaller amount of energy than traditional lighting.
For example, an 800ft strand of C9 Christmas lights burns about 6,000 watts if they are incandescent whereas their LED counterpart only burns 768 during a 30-day period. When you are burning 80-90% less power, the savings can pay for the cost of upgrading to LED lighting in a single season in some cases.
Incandescent vs. LED
Incandescent bulbs illuminate through an electrical current that passes through a filament. LED’s use electricity to excite diodes that emit light. There’s a major difference in lifespan between the bulb types. Incandescent bulbs last hundreds of hours while LED’s last for tens of thousands. The difference in efficiency is staggering.
Replacing older incandescent lighting with modern LED lighting won’t seem advantageous at first, but it does put more money in your pocket over the long-haul. Incandescent strands are cheap to buy but not cheap to use compared to their LED counterparts.
C7/C9 LED based retrofits are well worth what they cost because they are essentially impossible to break. LED bulbs are also cool to the touch whereas incandescent lights run hot.