Shiny, flashy and oh-so-jolly, holiday lights and decorations are a treasured part of the season. When hanging your holiday displays (with care), keep in mind a few simple tips to stay safe and keep your energy bill down.
When you’re sleeping at night, the lights don’t need to be on. Setting light displays on a timer can keep them from glowing all evening and using excess electricity. Newer timers allow for different settings on different days.
“Lighting timers ensure that your lights are on when you want to see them,” said Mike Baruch, Tucson Electric Power’s Residential Energy Efficiency Program Manager.
To further cut down on electricity use for holiday lighting displays, replace outdoor spotlights and strand lights with high-efficiency LEDs, which use 70 percent less energy than standard bulbs.
Be creative with your displays by adding reflective tinsel or foil to amplify the effects of lighting without amplifying your energy bill.
“Going all out with decorations during the holidays can add up to a higher bill – especially if you’re using older, inefficient decorations,” Baruch said.
Be mindful of safety while decorating for the holidays.
Holiday strand lights aren’t always the same quality as other electrical lights and devices, such as appliances and tools. “Generally, we’re used to cords with solid dense rubber plugs, but some cheap decorations come with snap-together plastic plugs that can pop apart in your hands,” Baruch warned.
Also, putting up lights and taking them down can lead to wear and tear over a few years.
“From a safety standpoint, check all of your seasonal decorations. Check the bulbs and look for any signs of fraying,” Baruch said. “Damaged wiring and plugs can lead to electrical fires or deliver a dangerous shock upon contact.”
By taking precautions, you can decorate safely and efficiently for a bright and memorable holiday.