LEDs Provide Greater Efficiency & Safety
Nov. 28, 2017 – Advancing technology can you help you light for the holidays without lighting up your electricity bill. Light-emitting diode (LED) decorative light strings have definite advantages over the incandescent versions because they use substantially less energy to produce the same amount of light.
The chart below shows the approximate cost of operating different types of lights at current National Grid rates for residential customers.
(Based on a 100-light string with 5 hours usage per day for 30 days, at current National Grid rates)
While LEDs usually cost more to purchase, the potential for savings over time is significant. LEDs typically are more durable as the bulbs are made of epoxy rather than glass, and can last as much as 10 years longer than standard lights without fading. LEDs also are safer to use as the bulbs remain cool to the touch no matter how long they have been on.
Here are some other efficiency and safety tips to keep the holidays healthy and affordable:
- Turn Off the Lights – Limit the time that lights are on. Wait until dark to turn on your holiday lights; then, turn them off before you go to bed. Or, use a safety-approved timer to do the work for you. Turning off room lights when the tree is lit can also make a difference. The lights on a holiday tree should provide more than enough lighting to navigate around the room.
- Inflatables – Yard inflatables range from simple to extravagant. Operating some of these inflatables can be expensive. Larger displays consume anywhere from about 150 watts per hour to as much as 200 watts. At 10 hours per day, the total cost of electricity could be $10 per inflatable, per month.
- Safety Approved Lighting – Make sure your lights have a safety listing from a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). A safety approval seal means the lights have been tested and are safe to use. Use lights only as intended. Thoroughly examine all lights before putting them up, even newly purchased lights.
- Christmas Trees – If you have an artificial tree, make sure it’s been tested for flammability by the Underwriters Laboratories. To prevent electrical shock, never use electric decorations on artificial trees with metallic needles, leaves or branches. Instead, place colored spotlights above or beside the tree—never attached to it. Keep your natural tree well-watered to prevent bulbs from igniting dry branches. Keep extension cords and light sets away from the tree stand.
- Don’t Overload – Don’t overload your electric circuits. Check your fuse or breaker panel to see how much your home can handle and stay well within limits, and string together only the number of lights recommended by the manufacturer.
- Avoid Shock – Make sure there’s a bulb in each socket. If a bulb has burned out, leave it in until you have a replacement.
- Outdoor Connections – Plug outdoor lights into Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, which are available at hardware and electrical supply stores. If there is an electrical fault with a light string, GFCIs will automatically shut off the electricity well before any electric shock could occur. Also, cover outdoor plugs and joints with a layer of plastic wrap and electrical tape.