You Deserve It – Celebrate!

Start the holidays right and avoid senseless holiday expenses at home. That means use seasonal green building ideas to control your extra decorating and entertaining costs or you’ll end up with financial troubles in January – and beyond.

In this series, we’ll focus upon one of 12 smart ways to gift yourself Holiday Breaks at Home:

Holiday LED lights at Home

Switch to strings of LED lights for your outside house and gardens displays and enjoy the results.  This year I strung 400 LED lights throughout our Formosa azaleas out front.

For a memorable and sophisticated show, I chose the warm white faceted C6 bulb style. They are over twice the size of standard mini-lights.  Every year I string out 900 minis but now with the bigger C6 bulbs, I’ve covered the same area with just 400 LED’s.

When turned on, LED’s instantly brighten and aren’t affected by cold temperatures. They remain cool to the touch, however, with durable and break resistant bulbs.

A set of LED lights costs only a fraction to run compared to the standard Christmas lighting.  One set of my 200 LED lights uses only 19.2 watts of energy per set compared to 122.4 watts with my old 300 light super-bright set.
(For reference a 13 watt CFL bulb typically replaces a 60 watt standard bulb in a table lamp.)

Here’s a cost comparison of LEDs  vs. Mini super-brights:

  • 19.2 watts x 2 sets x 5 hrs =    192 watts/night x 31 days (December) =    5.952kWh x .10/kwh  = $0.60 month
  • 122.4 watts x 3 sets x 5 hrs = 1,836 watts/night x 31 days (December) = 56.916 kWh x .10/kwh = $5.70/month

We are thrilled to get up to 84% energy savings (and the neighbors don’t even realize we’ve switched!)

As with most products there are varying degrees of LED light quality.  I noticed while testing them before stringing that they flickered; that is, the lights turned on and off at a high rate of speed. When I stepped a few feet away though, the light appeared steady.  Why?

Non-rectified LED holiday lights flicker at a rate of 60 hertz per second.  Although 60 hertz is very fast it is still detectable by the human eye. Thus, people close up may notice a faint flickering in non-rectified string lights.

If you are concerned about the flickering, look for fully rectified flicker-free LEDs.  These are more expensive understandably.  Rectified string lights trade 30-40% brighter light for slightly decreased efficiency.

The manufacturers claim these LED lights have up to 25,000 hour bulb life so I won’t be changing dead bulbs out literally for…ever.  (Well okay, at the above use rate, it’ll be 161 months but I only use them 1 to 2 months per year….)

Lower quality LED lights may not be corrosion resistant even though they are rated for outdoors. To avoid that look for either LED light strings with permanent bulbs or corrosion-resistant materials.

I think you’ll be thrilled to make the switch because these volts won’t jolt your holiday pocket!

Next Up: Holiday Break #2 Go Live and Remember Christmas in July

Click here to View all 12 Ideas

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