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How to Save Energy on Your Holiday Display

Christmas tree decked with glowing garland on a dark background
Whether you're stringing lights around the tree, draping your decks and windows, or adding light-up characters to your yard's display, holiday décor can come with an increased energy bill. But it doesn't have to. Take a look at some easy ways to lower your decoration-related energy costs during the holiday period.

Choose the Right Bulbs

LED bulbs use anywhere from 25 to 80 percent less energy than incandescent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This amount can equal a significant cost savings over the pre-holiday and holiday season - especially if you start decorating your home in November. How can you incorporate LED lights into your holiday display? Common uses include:
  • Tree décor. Switch out the traditional bulb strands for LED versions.
  • No-flame candles. Leaving lit candles in your windows is a fire hazard. Replacing them with electric versions is a safer, but sometimes costly, way to decorate. Using LED flameless candles can reduce fire risks and save you money.
  • Icicle lights. The lights that hang down from your rooftop or deck-top (mimicking the icicle shape) can also add to your electric bill. LED offers a less pricey way to decorate your house as a winter wonderland. The same goes for strand lights that hang on your home's exterior.
  • Character decorations. The giant light-up snowman, reindeer, or Santa are costing you extra money if you aren't using LED bulbs.
Most holiday décor plans require stringing together several sets of lights. Never mix LED and non-LED strands together. This type of setup isn't likely to work and poses fire danger.

Schedule an Electric Check-Up

Are your holiday lights twinkling? While the off and on flicker of lights is a welcome scene for many homeowners, if your lights aren't made to be the twinkle variety something is wrong. Whether your lights don't work consistently, the rest of your home seems dim when you plug in your Christmas tree, or you have another holiday display energy issue, your home needs professional attention.
A poorly working or malfunctioning electrical receptacle, circuit, or system can cause serious problems. Along with posing a safety risk, a less-than-peak-performance system may end up costing you extra money. Instead of waiting for something minor or wear and tear to turn into an expensive electrical issue, schedule and electrician appointment before the holidays are here.

Use a Timer

Leaving your lights on 24 hours a day will cost you unnecessarily. Even though LED lights save energy (and money), your electricity bill will still increase with their use. Turning the lights off for half of each 24- hour period can cut your energy bill in half. If you're looking to save more money, leaving your lights on from sunset to the middle of the night can reduce your nightly bill by half again.
Whether you're still at work when the sun sets or don't want to wake up in the middle of the night just to turn your lights off, a timer can take all the work out of cutting energy costs. Using a timer for your holiday lights is also an easy way to make your home looked lived while you're away for the holidays.

Switch to Batteries

Battery-operated lighting décor can save you energy, money, and space. Without a cord to plug in, you won't see the electricity bills add up. You also won't have to work around awkward outlets or rig potentially unsafe electricity situations - such as crushing an extension cord under a window to use an interior plug for exterior lights or over-filling a power cord.
Do you need an electrical check-up, a pre-season fix, or an outlet addition? Contact Family Electric for more information about holiday lighting and electrical safety.

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