Bright Idea: Use LEDs instead!
- Switch to seasonal Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) for all your festive lighting. LEDs use up to 95 per cent less electricity and don't produce any heat, making them a safer and more energy efficient choice.
- LEDs are constructed from solid-state chips that convert electricity to light directly, without the use of a filament or glass bulb. These lights are virtually unbreakable, more durable and easier to maintain because you won't have to change the bulbs.
- LEDs will save you money too! One dollar will get you 15 hours of incandescent holiday lighting or 15 days of LED holiday lighting. One set of 35 LED lights, operating for six hours a day, will consume less than 5 cents of electricity per month. The average outdoor incandescent bulb is seven watts, with 25 bulbs per set, while an LED set of 35 is 1.8 watts - almost four LED sets per single incandescent bulb!
- LEDs come in all shapes and sizes so if you like the look of larger lights be sure to check out the C9 LEDs.
- LEDs are also available in different shapes too. Check your local retailer for details.
Smaller is Better
If you're going to use incandescent bulbs, miniature bulbs are the best buy for interior and exterior lighting and for your energy dollar. They last longer than the larger, more traditional C7 and C9 bulbs, generate less heat and use up to 70% less energy.
The C7 and C9 bulbs can use 5 to 7 watts per bulb - and some older light sets may use up to 10 watts per bulb. Miniature lights consume just 0.4 watts per bulb. Multiply that by the numerous strings many of us put up around the house, and you're looking at significantly lower energy costs.
Miniature bulb sets usually have 50 to 200 bulbs per string, while larger bulbs come in sets of 25 to 50 per string. Here's an easy way to figure out the cost of running your Christmas lights:
- Identify the wattage for each string of lights. Note: A standard string containing 25 incandescent lights, consumes between 137-180 watts.
- Calculate the kilowatt-hour used. Note: On average, Christmas lights are on for 60 hours a month (2 hours per day). Total Wattage ÷ 1,000 x Number of Hours used = kWh (kilowatt-hour)
If you like the look of the larger bulbs, try the larger LED options. LEDs now come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Check your local retailer for details.
Timing is Everything
- Control your outdoor festive lights with a certified outdoor timer.
- Always turn your indoor festive lights off when you're leaving your house or when you're going to bed - indoor festive lights should never be left on if you're not there to enjoy them.
- Try to turn your festive lighting on after 7 p.m. to avoid the 'electricity rush hour.'
Safety First or Better Safe than Sorry
- Hot bulbs can ignite dry branches and other flammable decorations. Avoid fire by keeping your natural tree well watered and keeping extension cords and light sets away from the water. Light the tree only when you are at home and awake to enjoy it. Keep a fire extinguisher handy and your smoke detectors in good working order.
- Before decorating, inspect your holiday light strings carefully. Discard any frayed cords, loose connections or cracked bulb holders.
- When replacing a holiday bulb, always unplug the light string first. Ensure you match the voltage and wattage of the original bulb.
- Always use a single extension cord that is long enough to reach an outlet without stretching - never connect more than one extension cord together.
- Keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal rain gutters when you're hanging outdoor lights. Instead of using metal nails or tacks to hold them in place, use insulated tape or plastic clips.
- When purchasing strings of lights, extension cords, electrical decorations or spotlights, check for the certification mark of an accredited organization to ensure the products comply with safety and performance standards.
Wishing you a safe, happy and energy-efficient holiday!