How much will Christmas lights add to my electricity bill?


If you need a reason to save when planning a holiday light display that outshines the sun, consider these inconvenient facts:

Our holiday lights shine so bright, You can see them from space. According to one estimate, Americans use the most energy to power their holiday lights. More than the nation of El Salvador uses for a whole year. Our vitalizing juice 15-foot, inflatable blinking Rudolphs And our 20-foot, 1,200 bulb vine trees Can cool 14 million refrigerators.

Many Americans — and some entire neighborhoods — are spending more energy than ever on their holiday yard displays: staging them ahead of time, turning them on later and leaving the grounds unlit.

“People start decorating now after Halloween,” said Bianca Soriano, spokeswoman for Florida Power and Light. “If it starts on November 1StAnd let’s say you keep them until the New Year, that’s two months of extra energy.

Want to know how much power those holiday lights use? There is a formula for that

Average family In 2022 it cost $16.48 to light holiday lightsThat’s nearly two dollars more than in 2021, according to an analysis by Today’s Homeowner website.

There are ways to predict those costs. Kiplinger, the personal finance site, offers A wonderfully geeky formula To calculate holiday electricity bill:

[wattage/1000 x time in hours] x cost per kilowatt in cents = cost of running Christmas lights

For those who consider formula off-putting, Duke Energy provides a less math-intensive alternative.

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If you have five filament C9, two-inch incandescent bulbs, 500 bulbs total, and plan to run them six hours a day, you’ll spend $63 over the holiday month, according to Duke’s calculator.

If you switch to energy-efficient LED bulbs, the same monthly display costs only $9. If you cut down on mini-LED bulbs shaped like tiny candles, your cost drops to 60 cents.

A A 2008 study by the Department of Energy In 2007, seasonal lighting alone used 6.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.

This is more energy than the country of El Salvador uses in a year, according to one report Todd Moss, executive director of the Energy for Growth Hub, an energy-equity think tank. His 2015 piece It went viral. The backlash continued.

“People on the left said, ‘You need to stop wasting electricity,’ and people on the right said, ‘You’re trying to kill Christmas,'” Moss said.

Moss notes that the 6.6 billion kilowatt figure has “probably gone down since then because the lights have become more efficient.” But he also notes a distinct expansion in holiday light wars, at least in his neighborhood outside the District of Columbia.

“People are going all out, literally covering their whole house,” he said.

Want to lower your electricity bill for your holiday lights? Go to LED

If you’re looking to save electricity while hosting a Clark Griswold-sized holiday display, LEDs are the way to go.

LED bulbs Use at least 75% less energy And according to the Department of Energy, it lasts up to 25 times longer than old-school incandescent bulbs.

To explain the difference, ComEd calculated How much would Clark Griswold have saved? With LED lights.

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You may recall that Griswold, the patriarch of National Lampoon’s Christmas holiday, began building a house lit up with 25,000 Italian twinkling lights.

ComEd calculates that the scenario cost the Griswolds $7,462 in today’s dollars, with the incandescent bulbs burning five hours a day for a month.

With LED lights, the price drops to $1,612, still a surprisingly large sum.

But that’s movies.

“I don’t know who’s going to put in 25,000 lights,” said James Gherardi, a spokesman for Exelon, ComEd’s parent company.

Here are energy-saving tips you can use beyond the holidays to save money. Try some of them inside and outside your home.

Don’t rush to put up your holiday display

FPL’s Soriano has noticed his South Florida neighbors have been decking out arenas ever since in recent years.

Two months of holiday lights cost more than one month. You can annoy neighbors who don’t like your holiday by putting up lights in November. Why not wait a little longer?

Consider solar power

Solar powered holiday lights can be a bit more expensive (around $40 For this four pack on Amazon), but they save energy costs in the long run.

And, Popular Mechanics reports, solar saves you the hassle of running wires to outlets. Here are the magazines Best solar choices.

Put your holiday lights on a timer

They visit at sunset and leave at bedtime. No one will notice them in the afternoon. No one will be there to see them at 3am.

Revisit the inflatable Santa

Inflatables abound in the millennial vacation scene, but they come with a price.

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“Inflatables use a lot of energy,” Soriano said. “You hear that fan running.”

Your standard eight-foot inflatable It costs 4 cents an hour or about a dollar a day Electric, if it runs 24-7, according to Landmark Creations, a maker of custom inflatables.

“If you have five — Santa, a reindeer, a Grinch — each one is going to add to your electricity use,” Soriano said.

Beware of phantom power

Holiday decorations with electronic components that may appear to be malfunctioning but can still use energy are part of our energy industry’s wasted energy. The term “phantom load”.

For larger and more complex displays, consider using a “smart” power strip, which shuts off the power completely when you flick a switch.

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Turn off the lights when you leave town

This tip raises a philosophical question: Are your holiday lights for you or your neighbors?

You turn everything off when you fly Libra Christmas Eve is “kind of a bummer,” Gherardi said, “because you want to see your house in its holiday shape for the whole month of December.”

But it’s safer to turn off the lights when you’re out. If you want to save a few bucks on power, this is a great way to do it.

Set a New Year’s resolution to turn off the lights

The weekend after New Year’s Day, turn up your lights and lower your elves.

Think about it: Is there anything sadder than Santa in a withered yard in February?

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