‘Watts up’ with your holiday lights?

The weather outside may be frightful, but your energy bill doesn’t have to be, if you use energy efficient holiday lights.

Whether you deck the halls inside or out, whether you use light strands to trim the tree or your house, here are some tidbits from Western’s Energy Services staff about the energy you’re using, as well as the safety aspect of decorating your home.

The following chart provides a breakdown of how much eary is consumed by different types of light bulbs. You can adjust the assumed energy price per kWh to more accurately reflect your local energy costs.

Did you know?

  • An extension cord that is too small can overheat and start a fire, without tripping the breaker.
  • A florescent flood light won’t work well when it’s below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and it may not work at all when the temperature dips below zero.
  • A string of 70 holiday lights can use as much as 350 watts, or the equivalent of two-and-a-half, three-way lamps.

Reduce holiday lighting energy use

Take safety and energy-efficient precautions when putting your lights up. “And if you’ve already put your lights up, take a look to make sure you put them up safely, so you don’t start a fire,” said Energy Services RepresentativeGary Hoffmann.

For starters, check the size of your extension cords and make sure they’re labeled with the amount of current they can carry. “When you get a new extension cord, use an indelible marker to label it with the capacity,” suggested Hoffmann. “That way if the label falls off, you still know what the capacity is.”

Also, remember not to string more than three light strands together outside because it could overload your extension cord or light strand and start a fire. “Generally, three 35-bulb cords of regular holiday lights may be connected on one extension cord,” explained Hoffmann. “But if you use light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, you may use 12 strings of 70 bulbs per string and still be O.K.”

While LED lights may cost more initially, the energy costs they will save add up. “A string of LED lights use as little as two watts, where as a night light uses four watts,” added Hoffmann. “So they cost only about three cents to operate when used about five hours a day during the holiday season.

Energy Services shared these additional facts about LED holiday lighting options:

Safety—no chance of combustion, since the bulbs are cool to the touch, regardless of how long they are left on.

Sturdy bulbs—the epoxy lenses are virtually indestructible. These lights have a different appearance from familiar incandescent models, appearing to shimmer with movement as the light passes through the faceted bulbs.

LED bulbs don’t emit the same amount of light as incandescent lamps, although some new models on the market are closer to the brightness of incandescent. “Even so, LED lights can be used for beautiful and affordable holiday decorating,” said Hoffmann.

For more information, download Energy Services’ Holiday Lighting fact sheet.


  • By DC, December 19, 2010 @ 12:11 am

    I actually saw a news story about this – how many people were using LED lights for their Christmas lights.

    People will start buying them for their homes in a few years – maybe around 2012.

  • By Patrick Estrias Solano, January 18, 2011 @ 8:50 am

    I did buy some of the LED lights for my house and experienced a smaller than usual bill for electricity, I am planning to switch entirely next year. oops… this year (2011) to LEDs. thanks

  • By Celulares, February 6, 2011 @ 11:49 am

    We are having the issue here in Paterson, NJ where is too cold during winter, especially this one, with the outside light bulbs. Is not uncommon for them not to work after 9pm. Is there a solution for that? Not sure. I am still convinced it provides huge energy savings. Thanks for the post.

  • By espiar celulares, May 19, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

    Thanks for the recomendacione, the best way of saving energy is changing the lights those who are mentioned in the post, with this the daily consumption can diminish even in 75 % of the emaciated energy every day

  • By espiar, May 26, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

    is very important to save energy by changing light bulbs with energy-saving, it is demonstrated that this helps up to 70% savings in energy, look after our mother earth

  • By como-espiar-celular, June 20, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    After testing with a few LED lights and verifying that the bill went down, I intend to change all the old light bulbs at home with this new technology.

  • By omayra - Eliminar estrias, June 22, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

    The LED lights will be a great option, and save energy, which makes him much good to the planet, also have savings in their pockets. It’s a great idea, is of great value considering the benefits.

  • By Eliminar las Estrias, September 27, 2011 @ 11:48 am

    yeo, the LED light would be a good option! There are way cheaper, they save energy and they are good to the planet 😀

  • By Sonia - Como Eliminar Estrias, January 24, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    LEDs are a great option for Christmas lights, even apart from that we can save good money by the low power consumption and most importantly help the environment. LEDs are the future.

  • By Ken Bonner, February 2, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

    Instantly I am reminded of the moment when Chevy Chase finally gets his 2.3 million Christmas bulbs lit during Christmas Vacation and the shot of the energy meter racing out of control!

  • By como, February 2, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

    We are having the issue here in Paterson, Me too :)

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  • By Hosea Machnik, May 22, 2012 @ 11:57 am

    amazing blog site !! i’ll definitelly back again the following!

  • By fkawau, June 17, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

    This is the correct Western's Connections blog » ‘Watts up’ with your holiday lights? journal for anyone who wants to act out out active this substance. You mark so much its most effortful to converse with you (not that I rattling would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new prolong on a content thats been longhand nearly for life. Nice block, but zealous!

  • By rastrearumcelular, July 13, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

    Last christmas I purchased the LED lights for the tree but it was too expensive to buy the ones for the house. Already cheaper but enough. Hoping to make the change this year. I can tell you the tree now is wayyyy coooler. thanks for the article.

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