If you are one of those wise people who know that sometimes you need to spend a little money to save a lot, consider changing your holiday lights from incandescent to LED to save electricity and money while eliminating a potential fire hazard.
LED stands for light-emitting diodes, meaning that there is no filament in the bulb to burn out as in incandescent bulbs. These bulbs will burn for thousands hours longer than an incandescent. They are far more durable; the bulbs themselves are solid and so are far less likely to break. The wires that connect the strand of lights are significantly thicker than incandescent wires and therefore more difficult to tangle, keeping at least one of the frustrations of the holidays at a minimum.
LED lights use about one-tenth the electricity of traditional incandescent lights. If you run your lights for 300 hours between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, you can save as much as $13 in electricity per strand of lights. Those savings add up fast if you use several strands.
If you’ve ever touched an incandescent light bulb, you know how hot they can get. In extreme situations, incandescent bulbs can cause dry trees to catch fire. There are around 300 Christmas tree fires annually, resulting in an estimated 14 deaths. By contrast, LED lights do not get hot. They produce less than one-twentieth the amount of heat of a traditional bulb, drastically reducing the chances of fire.
The only drawback to LED lights is the initial cost. LED lights will cost about twice as much as incandescent. However, when you add up the savings in electricity as well as the extended life of the bulbs, the math evens out quickly. For 100 incandescent bulbs you’ll pay maybe four dollars, spend $10 to power them each year, and they’ll last about three years until one bulb burns out and the whole strand is useless. Total cost over their life: $34. The equivalent LED strand can cost about eight dollars, but you’ll only spend about two dollars annually to power them and they’ll last twice as long as the incandescent. Total cost over their life: $20.
LED lights came in limited colors and styles when they were introduced a few years ago. Technology has now caught up with demand and they come in as many colors and shapes as incandescent strands. LEDs can blink and change colors as well.
While they cost more up front, LED lights have so many advantages, when you’re in the market for new lights your choice should be a no-brainer. LED lights use far less electricity and therefore cost significantly less to plug in, virtually eliminate the chance of a fire, and last for years longer than traditional incandescent strands.