Christmas lights are a festive sign of the season, but do you know how much they cost you to run during the holidays? The US Department of Energy (DoE) reports that lighting accounts for about 15% of the average home’s electricity use. And at a time when inflation is still high and energy costs are rising in the US, every little bit helps.
So we’ve put together some useful energy statistics and tips on how you can reduce the impact of your Christmas lights on your bottom line.
Christmas lights. how much do they cost to run?
Our partners at Tom’s Guide (opens in new tab) Since 2021, the national average cost of putting on Christmas lights has increased by $1.93, or 13 percent, to $16.48 in 2022, the report said.
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Use the following formula to calculate your own holiday light bill:
[wattage/1000 x time in hours] x cost per kWh in cents = cost to run Christmas lights
The DoE: (opens in new tab) According to the calculations, it would cost $0.27 to light a 6-foot tree 12 hours a day, for 40 days, with LEDs, while incandescent lights are $10. But who hasn’t had enough of their Christmas tree before the 40 days are up?
Tom’s Guide explains that if you turn on your lights for a few hours each day in December (5am to 11pm), your bills can go up by:
- Average: decorations with LED lights$5 to $7 increase
- Average: decorations with glowing lights$33 increase
- Develop using decorations LED lights$47 increase
- Develop using decorations glowing lights$350 increase
Use LED Christmas lights to save money
As you can see from the list above, the type of light bulb you choose can help you save real money during the holiday season. While many older lights are made with incandescent bulbs, switching to LED bulbs can help you cut your costs dramatically.
Southern California Edison (opens in new tab) (SCE), one of the largest U.S. utility companies, reports that energy costs can double depending on the type of Christmas lights you choose. SCE claims that LEDs are less expensive and last much longer than standard C-7 bulbs or mini lights. LEDs are also much cooler and safer because there is no filament or breakable glass.
SCE adds that some LED holiday lights can last up to 200,000 hours and that bright, colorful LEDs can reduce holiday lighting costs by up to 90%. Five strings of LED lights can run as little as 80 cents a month versus about $20 a month for five strings of C-7 lights.
According to the DoE, the same LED string can still be used after 40 holiday seasons.
Try solar Christmas lights to save even more
Solar Christmas lights are a way to save more money on your holiday energy costs in the long run. The DoE explains that solar outdoor lights use solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Electricity is stored in batteries for use at night. So after spending an initial $10-$50 for a basic solar kit (according to Google Shopping (opens in new tab)), you can enjoy free Christmas lighting in your home every December.
Just do your research before you buy. The DoE cautions that the “night operation” listings for most outdoor solar lighting systems are based on specific sunlight conditions. Less sunny regions, especially in the winter, can expect shorter than average operating hours per night. During the winter months, operating times can range as low as 30%-50%, unless the solar lighting system is specifically rated for winter operation.
For more energy-saving content, visit our Home Savings Center.