We love our holiday traditions and that often includes decorating with lights. Christmas lights are easy to set up, beautiful inside and outside our homes and small enough to store and reuse year after year. The question is how much electricity do our holiday lights use, especially if we leave them on 24 hours per day? Even more important is how much is our electric bill after the holidays, to pay for the lights?
Fortunately we now have LED lights (read LED Lights and Why They're Great) and almost all commercial holiday lighting like the Rockerfeller Center tree in New York City, are switching to LED holiday lights. They sturdier using plastic instead of glass, they last longer and they use a lot less energy so the cost to light this tree is significantly lower.
Tips for Saving Energy this Holiday Season
If you like to use lots of holiday lights when decorating, here are tips for making more energy conscious decisions and you'll be glad you did with a much lower electric bill after the holidays. The goal is to illustrate the different electricity needs of various Christmas lights.
- Bigger bulbs (C-7) use between 4 and 10 watts/hr … per bulb, averaging 25 lights per string. A string of C-7 (4 watts/bulb) x 25 bulbs/string = 100 watts per hour.
- Mini-light bulbs use one tenth or 0.4 watts/hr and average 35 to 200 lights per string. The popular icicle lights use mini-lights and usually require many more strings to cover the same distance as a regular string of mini-lights. Mini-lights (0.4 watts/bulb) x 100 bulbs/string = 40 watts per hour.
- New Light Emitting Diode (LED) holiday lights save even more energy, drawing only 0.04 watts/hr … per bulb, typically with 35 to 100 lights per string. A string of LED lights (0.04 watts/bulb) x 100 bulbs/string = 4 watts per hour, a significant savings over more traditional holiday lights.
In addition to using less energy and therefore lowering your electric bill significantly, LED lights have other advantages. When one bulb on a string goes bad, the rest of the lights on the string continue to work. LED bulbs never get hot and they're made using plastic rather than glass bulbs, so they're much safer than traditional holiday lights. You can also connect up to 25 strings of LED lights together without overloading a typical household circuit.
Yes, I really took the photo. I was born in New York City and visited this weekend with my best friend Nance, a holiday tradition started more than 25 years ago.
It is watts, not watts per hour. Watts is power, what the lights take continuously. Watt-hours is energy, what they use over time. The article should list the actual savings in a season per string. A kilowatt-hour is about 10 to 35 cents, depending on your location and how much you use.
Bill, I understand what you’re saying, that a 100 watt light bulb is drawing 100 watts all the time but I did some more research and I still think the 100 watt light bulb if left on for an hour, generates 100 watts (1/10th of a kWh) in electricity charges (ref: http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/cost.html).
PS I too would like to see better, really believable, data on cost savings but there are so many variables, it’s hard to document without getting into trouble. I finally found a good chart so I’ll try to write a new article and provide some real lightbulb savings info.
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the great blog, I’m reading them for a while, thanks for the new posts!
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