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LED Lights for the Holidays

It’s that time of year, again. The Holiday Season is upon us. Everyone is beginning to pull out their decorations for the season, go gift shopping, and listening to holiday music. Now that Halloween is over, stores are changing their seasonal décor and products to Christmas and other end of the year holidays.

When you pull out your holiday decorations, whether just decorating the tree or going all out and decorating the whole house, the possibility of your lights not working or having broken, blown, or missing bulbs is a large concern. When you plug them in and they don’t light, I know it is frustrating for us. You then have to follow the strand to figure out where the bulb is in the first place, how to fix it, and see if you can find a new bulb for it. Sometimes, it isn’t even possible to fix because the bulb broke and the base is stuck. And what happens when that’s not the only problem? You could spend HOURS just trying to fix one strand of lights!

With LED lights, this isn’t a concern. LED lights are more durable than traditional incandescent bulbs. LED lights are made with epoxy lenses rather than glass as the incandescent bulbs are. Epoxy lenses are much more sturdy and less likely to break. They also last longer than incandescent bulbs. The same LED strand can be used for up to 40 seasons! No need to constantly replace the strands that can’t be fixed. The only thing that needs to be done in preparation is roll them out, hang them up, and plug them in. They are much more convenient this way.

LEDs also save on energy. If you are decorating the outside of your home, incandescents limit you to a small number of strands that can be linked together before a fuse is blown. You then have to use another outlet or extension cords in order to finish what you are trying to accomplish. LED lights use 10 times less energy, so you can link 10 times as many together. And since LEDs use less energy, they also cost 10 times less to have lit. The graph below shows the estimated costs of electricity to light a 6ft tree for 12 hours a day during a 40-day season, according to the Department of Energy.

 

Incandescent C-9 $10.00
LED C-9 $0.27
Incandescent Mini Lights $2.74
LED Mini Lights $0.82

 

As you can see, according to this graph above, LEDs have a significantly lower operating cost. Energy bills tend to jump during the holiday season because of holiday lights. This can be lowered just by switching to LED light strands.

The Department of Energy put together another graph about holiday lights. This one outlines the estimated cost of buying and operating lights for 10 seasons. They specified this is assuming 50 C-9 bulbs and 200 mini-lights per tree. Electricity costs were assumed at $0.119 per kilowatt-hour(kWh) according to residential average. Lifespan has been assumed 3 seasons for non-LED lights. The graph below outlines these costs.

Incandescent C-9 $122.19
LED C-9 $17.99
Incandescent Mini Lights $55.62
LED Mini Lights $33.29

 

The Cost of LED mini-lights is closer to the cost of incandescent mini-lights because they cost more to purchase outright. Even with that said, incandescent mini lights still are more expensive to continuously purchase and pay for the higher energy use. LEDs are overall the lesser expensive choice.

Safety is a large concern over the holiday season. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2009-2013, an average of 210 home fires started with Christmas trees. In result of these fires, an average of 7 deaths, 19 injuries, and $17.5 million in direct property damage occurred. The NFPA states, although these fires may not be all that common, they are unusually likely to be serious. One in 31 of these fires resulted in a death compared to one in 144 in total reported home fires.

Decorative lights were involved in 12% of home fires during the holiday season, estimated average of 150 home structure fires. Fires as a result of decorative lighting resulted in average 9 deaths, 16 injuries and $8.4 million in damage.

Incandescent bulbs emit 90% of the energy used as heat. Only 10% of used energy is emitted as light. This makes the light bulb VERY hot, as most know from accidentally touching one that has been lit for a while. The risk of combustion is very high. LEDs use most of their energy for emitting light, so they emit almost no heat, it is near impossible to burn yourself on an LED bulb.

 

We have come to the conclusion that LED bulbs are more convenient, more durable, use less energy and save money, and are safer. Is there anything else that LEDs are good for? Yes. The aesthetical advantages of LEDs are superior to incandescent lights as well. LEDs look better. They are crisper, cleaner and have a purer light than incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs emit a foggier light that isn’t as clear as LEDs. This makes LED lights stand out against incandescent bulbs. This of course is just an added bonus to LED lights, but a positive note as well.

We wish you the best during your holiday season, be safe and be smart!

Until next time, Happy Holidays!

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