1. Use a timer
If you’re anything like myself, you often find yourself rushing out the door in the morning only to find that the holiday lights are still on! If you’re turning your lights on each day around 6 p.m. and not turning them off until you’re heading out the door at 8 a.m., you’ve left your lights running for 14 hours—far beyond the 6 hours of daily use that most professionals recommend. Unfortunately, the only ones enjoying those lights in the wee hours of the morning are the squirrels and the birds, and you’re the one getting stuck with the bill! Instead, pick up an inexpensive timer that will automatically turn the lights on when the sun goes down and off after you’ve gone to bed, keeping you right around that 6-hour mark.
2. Use fiber optic displays
If you’re looking for the ultimate energy-efficient decorations, look no further than fiber optics. Fiber optic displays and trees are usually powered by a single bulb from the base, which emits the light throughout the tree or display. Not only do these fiber optic trees create various lighting effects, but they actually use as much as 90% less electricity than trees lit with incandescent lights. In addition to the cost savings, fiber optic trees are easy to maintain, require no additional lights and can last for years. Not to mention they can make for some pretty snazzy displays!
3. Switch to LED lights
Although LED lights cost more to purchase than traditional lights, their savings make up for it. In fact, LED lights actually use 90% less electricity than traditional incandescent lights! Let’s say your display consists of two decorations: a wreath that lights up and 10 strands of lights. With this display, you would be using approximately 635 watts with incandescent lights. However, if you had those same lights in LED, you would only be using approximately 96 watts! If you’re paying 11.3 cents per kilowatt, you’re saving yourself about $10.
However, the real savings with LED lights comes from their durability. LED lights don’t get hot, which not only makes them much safer, but it means that bulbs don’t burn out so those frustrating afternoons of checking bulbs to figure out why the whole strand went out is a thing of the past! Another perk to LED lights is that they last up to 100,000 hours compared to an average of just 2,000 hours with incandescent. Although you may have to pay more when purchasing those LEDs, you can expect to be decorating your house with those same strands of lights for the next 7–10 years!
4. Tone it down
If you tend to take your holiday decorating tips from Clark Griswold, you’re probably burning through a lot more electricity than you realize! And although you may get a kick out of cars lining up on your street to check out your display, you won’t enjoy it so much once you get that big bill. Instead, opt for a smaller display and decorations that use less electricity. An easy way to calculate your holiday lighting costs is to figure out how many watts each item or strand of lights uses and go from there. For every 2,500 watts that you’re using, you’re spending appropriately 30 cents per hour to have them lit up using traditional incandescent lights. This means that if you’ve got a large setup that’s burning through 10,000 watts and you’re keeping it lit for 6 hours a day for 30 days, you’re spending over $200 on your lighting display!