This weekend, many of us will be climbing ladders, scaling our roofs, and wrapping the inside and outside of our house with holiday lighting. Whether you prefer a few strands hung on the shrubs in the front of your house or a display straight out of Christmas Vacation, in the back of your head, there's always that question – "How much is this going to cost me?"
I know every time I drive by some extravagant, glowing, big-ball-of-light house this time of year, I can't help but wonder how much they're spending on electricity.
I decided to do some research on this topic to see what tools were out there to help me debunk my questions. Apparently I'm not the only one curious about this.
- Duke Energy has built an interactive Holiday Lighting Energy Calculator. You simply plug in the amount of strands you have per light bulb type and how many hours a day you use those strands and the calculator will provide energy costs per day and per month. This is a great tool to use before you even go shopping so you know the exact difference in energy costs if you go with incandescent lights instead of LED.
- If you do want to go all out like Clark Griswold, Xcel Energy has provided you with step-by-step calculations on what you'll spend to recreate the National Lampoon house. Clark had 25,000 inefficient incandescent bulbs on his home, costing him about $3,963 over the course of the holidays!
- Interested in decorating with more than just string lights? Christmas Lights Etc. breaks down the cost of decorating with wreaths, garland, and outdoor decorations. They also give three great charts for typical holiday lighting usage costs, heavy usage costs, and "enthusiastic" costs.
Most of these tools seem to pretty clearly indicate that switching from incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs will not only save you a large amount of money, but your holiday lights will last longer and use about 65 percent less energy, according to an infographic Home Depot put together. (And if you're wanting to replicate that Griswold display, those energy savings can really add up.)
Finally, we'll assume you're a little sharper than Mr. Griswold, but we certainly don't want any power outages or injuries in the set-up process. Follow these 10 tips for safe holiday decorating to ensure the neighborhood's power stays intact and you survive the holiday season without any trips to the emergency room.
Happy decorating this weekend! Share your displays with us on our Facebook page, we're excited to see what you come up with!