How much will Christmas lights add to my electricity bill?

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If you need a reason to economize while planning a holiday light show that outshines the sun, consider these uncomfortable facts:

Our holiday lights are burning bright, You can see them from space. Americans are using more energy to power their holiday lights, according to one estimate. What El Salvador uses for everything during an entire year. Our refreshing juice Rudolph Inflatable Flashing 15 Feet And ours 20-foot flagpole trees and 1,200 bulbs It can cool 14 million refrigerators.

Many Americans — and some entire neighborhoods — are putting more energy than ever into their holiday yard displays: organizing them early, running them later, and leaving no plot unlit.

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

Want to know how much energy these holiday lights use? There’s a formula for that

Average family Spend an estimated $16.48 to turn on holiday lights in 2022nearly $2 more than in 2021, according to a Today’s Homeowner analysis.

There are ways to forecast these costs. Kiplinger offers personal finance The geeky formula is great To calculate the electricity bill during the holiday:

[wattage/1000 x time in hours] x Cost per kWh in cents = Cost to run Christmas lights

For those who find the combinations unsuitable, Duke Energy Provides a less math-intensive alternative.

If you plan to string five strands of C9 bulbs, two 2-inch incandescent bulbs, a total of 500 bulbs, and turn them on six hours a day, you’ll spend $63 in the month of vacation, according to Duke’s calculator.

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If you switch to energy-efficient LED bulbs, the same supply for a month will cost only $9. And if you downsize to Mini-LED bulbs, the ones shaped like little candles, the cost drops to 60 cents.

a 2008 study from the Department of Energy It found that seasonal lights alone consumed 6.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2007.

That’s more energy than El Salvador used in a year at that time, according to a report by Todd Moss, executive director of the Center for Energy for Growth, a research center specializing in energy stocks. Cut it in 2015 It went viral. A backlash ensued.

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

Moss points out that the 6.6 billion kilowatt figure “may have decreased since then, because lighting has become much more efficient.” But he’s also noticing a definite escalation in the holiday snack wars, at least in his neighborhood outside the District of Columbia.

“People come out with all their might, covering their entire house,” he said.

Want to cut energy costs for your holiday lights? Go valve

The most important takeaway here, if you’re looking to save energy while still putting on a Clark Griswold-sized holiday scene, is to use LEDs.

LED lamps Use at least 75% less energy They last up to 25 times longer than older incandescent bulbs, according to the Department of Energy.

To illustrate the difference, ComEd calculated How much could Clark Griswold have spared himself? With LED lights.

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You may remember that the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Griswold patriarch proceeded to show off the brightest house on the block, armed with 25,000 Italian twinkle lights.

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

With LEDs, the price drops to $1,612, which is a surprisingly large sum.

But these are movies.

“I don’t know anyone who’s installing 25,000 lights,” said James Girardi, a spokesman for Exelon, ComEd’s parent company.

Here are more energy saving tips you can use after the holidays to save money. Try some inside and outside your home.

Don’t rush your holiday display

Soriano, of FPL, notes that her South Florida neighbors seem to be decking the halls earlier than ever in recent years.

Two months of holiday lights cost more than one month. You might annoy your most holiday-averse neighbors by turning off the lights in November. Why don’t you wait a while?

Consider solar energy

Solar-powered holiday lights may cost a little more (about $40.00). For this four pack on Amazon), but it can save you electricity costs in the long run.

Also, as Popular Mechanics reports, solar power can save you the hassle of running wires to outlets. Here is the magazine Top solar picks.

Put your holiday lights on a timer

Time them to go on at sunset and stop at bedtime. No one will notice them at noon. There will be no one to see them at three in the morning.

Rethink inflatable Santa

Inflatable toys abound in millennial holiday displays, but they come at a price.

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“Inflatables consume 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 In electricity, if it runs 24/7, according to Landmark Creations, maker of custom inflatables.

“If you have five — you have Santa, your reindeer, the Grinch — each one of those will increase your electricity usage,” Soriano said.

Beware of illusory power

Holiday decorations that contain electronic components can consume energy even when they appear to be off, which is the quotient of our wasted energy The term “phantom pregnancy”.

For large, complex displays, consider using a “smart” power strip, which turns off the power completely when you press a switch.

This is the worst day, worst airport: What to know for a smooth holiday trip

Turn off the lights if you leave town

This tip raises a philosophical question: Is your holiday light display for you or your neighbors?

Turn everything off when you travel to Tulum “It’s kind of a bummer, because you want to see your house in its holiday glory for the entire month of December,” Girardi said on Christmas Eve.

But it’s definitely safer to turn off the lights than to leave them on when you’re away. And if you want to save a few dollars on energy, 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 provides a great time to turn on the lights and unpack your elves.

Think about it: Is there anything sadder than a wilted Santa’s apron in February?

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