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The Truth About Energy Consumption: Unmasking the Christmas Lights Myth

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The Truth About Energy Consumption: Unmasking the Christmas Lights Myth

There is an ongoing debate about the energy consumption of Christmas lights and their impact on our electricity bills. The festive season brings joy and cheer, but it also brings concerns about potential energy wastage.

This article aims to shed light on this subject by analysing the energy consumption of various types of Christmas lights and providing suggestions on saving energy during the festive season.

The Christmas Lights Myth

  • Debunking the Myths

Many believe that Christmas lights consume a lot of electricity, contributing to high electric bills during the festive season. However, the cost of powering holiday lights may be lower than you think, especially when using energy-efficient options like LED lights.

  • Analysing Energy Consumption

To understand the energy consumption of Christmas lights, it’s important to consider three main types: mini lights, mini LED lights, and Ceramic C7 lights. These lights were tested for energy usage in December using a smart plug and Powerley app.

Mini Lights

  • Energy Usage

Mini lights are versatile and can be used for indoor and outdoor lighting. A string of 100 mini lights uses 0.039 kWh per hour and 0.95 kWh daily. Leaving the lights on all day can significantly increase energy usage, costing $3.82 per month for each string of lights.

  • Cost of Lighting Christmas Trees

The cost of lighting a Christmas tree can vary significantly depending on the size of the tree. A 7ft tree requires approximately 700 lights, a 10ft tree needs 1,000 lights, and a 12ft tree can require as many as 2,000 lights.

Mini LED Lights

  • Energy Efficiency

LED lights are known for their energy efficiency. Mini LED lights consume only 0.0045 kWh per hour, translating to 0.11 kWh per day and 3.41 kWh monthly. The cost for powering one strand of LED lights is only $0.44 per month, saving 88% compared to traditional mini lights.

  • Home Automation for Additional Savings

Using home automation can lead to even more savings1. By setting a schedule for the lights to turn off when you leave the house and turn on when you return, you can reduce their energy consumption to 14.5 hours daily. This can lead to an additional saving of 40% on electricity.

Ceramic C7 Lights

  • Energy Usage

Ceramic C7 bulbs are larger lights that are great for creating a traditional holiday feel. A string of 25 C7 lights uses 130 Watts constantly, translating to 0.13 kWh per hour, or 3.16 kWh per day and 97.96 kWh per month. This results in an additional electrical cost of $12.73.

  • Cost of Lighting Christmas Trees

Lighting a Christmas tree with C7 lights can be expensive. Lighting a 7ft tree requires about 100 lights, costing $50.92 monthly. A 10ft tree would need around 150 lights, costing $75.43 per month, while a 12ft tree with 200 lights would cost about $100.58 monthly.

Energy Saving with LED Lights

  • Reducing Energy Consumption

LED lights can significantly reduce the energy consumption of Christmas lights. Moving from regular mini lights to mini LEDs can reduce lighting expenses by 88%, and Ceramic C7 LEDs will likely achieve similar savings.

  • Cost of Lighting Christmas Trees with LED Lights

Using LED lights can significantly reduce the cost of lighting a Christmas tree. Lighting a 7ft tree with 100 LED lights would only cost $6.12 monthly. A 10ft tree with 150 LED lights would cost $9.18 per month, while a 12ft tree with 200 LED lights would cost just $12.24 monthly.

Phantom Loads and Energy Waste

  • Understanding Phantom Loads

Phantom loads, also known as vampire loads or wasted energy, refer to the energy consumed by electronics even when unused. Using a timer or a power strip can help eliminate these phantom loads.

  • Reducing Phantom Loads

Turning off the decorations before bed is recommended to reduce phantom loads. Low-energy light strings like Energy Star lights can also help keep costs low. These lights use about 70% less energy than traditional incandescent light strings.

The Impact of Decorations on Your Electricity Bill

  • The Cost of Christmas Spirit

The cost of Christmas decor on your electricity bill largely depends on the elaborateness of the decorations. Incandescent bulbs can significantly increase your energy bill, while LED bulbs are more energy-efficient.

  • Calculating the Cost

If you light your decorations from 5 pm to 11 pm each day from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31, your bill could increase per month as follows:

  • Average decorations with LED lights: $5 to $7 increase
  • Average decorations with incandescent lights: $33 increase
  • Elaborate decorations using LED lights: $47 increase
  • Elaborate decorations using incandescent lights: $350 increase

Energy Consumption of Different Types of Christmas Lights

  • Incandescent Lights

Incandescent lights generate light by heating an inner filament, which consumes significant energy. For instance, a 100-count string of incandescent mini lights runs at 40 watts.

  • LED Lights

LED lights generate light using conductors without producing heat, making them more energy-efficient. A 70-count of 5mm Wide-angle LED uses approximately 4.8 watts in total.

The Cost of Running Christmas Lights

  • Energy Consumption of Different Decorations

The energy consumption of Christmas lights varies significantly depending on the type of lights and decorations used. Outdoor string lights, tree lights, icicle lights, and other lit-up decorations consume different amounts of energy.

  •  LED vs. Incandescent Christmas Lights

LED lights are more energy-efficient compared to incandescent bulbs. For instance, a strand of C9 LED lights uses just 2.4 watts, costing 21 cents to run over 45 days with a 12-hour-a-day operation. On the other hand, a comparable string of incandescent C9 lights uses 175 watts and costs $15.12 to run over the same period.

How Long Should Christmas Lights Be On?

  • Reducing Energy Waste

Most front yard displays are from 5 pm to approximately 10 or 11 pm. Incandescent lights waste nearly 90% of their energy from heat. This can pose a fire hazard, especially during the holiday season.

  • LED Lights for Safety

LED lights operate on low-voltage electrical systems, significantly reducing the risk of overheating and becoming a fire hazard. They can withstand hot and cold temperatures, making them a safer option for holiday decorations.

Conclusion

Christmas lights don’t have to consume a lot of energy. You can enjoy the festive season without worrying about your electricity bill by using LED lights and setting an automated schedule for your lights. While incandescent bulbs may seem cheaper initially, the long-term energy savings and safety benefits of LED lights make them a better choice.

References

US Today – https://eu.usatoday.com/story/money/2022/12/05/christmas-lights-electric-bill/10803220002

GreenMatch – https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/christmas-lights

ElectricRate https://www.electricrate.com/how-much-power-do-christmas-lights-use

SEE ALSO: Exploring Code Culture and Web Development in Thailand

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