Merry And Bright – Safer and More Efficient Christmas Lighting with LEDs

It’s a season of light where we not only celebrate blessed holidays, but also mark being halfway out of winter’s darkness. When you decorate with electric lighting, LEDs can make a marked improvement in safety, efficiency and even appearance. Grab some eggnog and take in these recommendations:

Pay more upfront, but save money for many years
A string of LED Christmas lights will cost more than a comparable string of incandescents, perhaps even several times more, but it will save you a bundle in electricity costs. An incandescent display (with five or six light strings) that would cost $10-$11 a month to power can be replaced by LEDs which will cost between $1.50 and $1.70 per month. In no time, power savings alone pay for the difference between the LED and incandescent purchase cost.

You’ll also save over the years because LEDs last far longer than incandescents. As we’ll see below, you’ll also be able to avoid buying extra extension cords.

Switch to LEDs for safety and convenience
To safely use incandescent lights, you’ll need to limit them to 4 or 5 strings per outlet. More than that, and you risk a significant fire hazard. But because LEDs draw less power, they can be used in strings 8 to 10 times longer.

LEDs are also better for little fingers. Incandescent lights are hot to the touch after running for just a short time, and are a tempting item for small children. LEDs give off very little heat and are often cool to the touch.

Take advantage of their qualities when decorating
In the past, LEDs were less versatile in both application and design. But as technology has moved forward, they now come in a wide range of colors and shapes, and features are available that weren’t even dreamed of just 20 years ago.

With LEDs, you can still decorate with the classic look you want. If you prefer the multiple colors and classic rounded-teardrop design of incandescent Christmas lights, you’ll be able to find LED’s that look just like them. You won’t know the difference until you get your electric bill!

Keep an eye on color temperature. If you want a uniform color for outside decorations, a cool white (rated at 4100°K and higher) gives a bluish white tone that looks amazing on a snowy landscape. Indoors, decorating with warm white lights (2500 to 2700°K) gives a candlelight glow. Check out “Considering Color” for more information on decorating with LED lights.

Lastly, don’t forget the lighting fixtures in your home. If you choose LED bulbs/fixtures with color temperature in mind, you’ll have a more beautiful scene to enjoy. If your decor changes significantly during the season, you may want to consider bulbs that change color. These new bulbs can be set to specific color temperatures using your smartphone and a free app.

Lastly, we recommend (and hope) you enjoy the season! May you experience light and joy that comes from family and friends.