I don’t know about you, but nothing can muddle my holiday mood more than a bunch of burned out light strands (I’m talking traditional/incandescent). They worked when I put them away, so what happened to them as they lay dormant in storage? (We won’t get into my evil elf theory.)
Well, I’ve done all the boring research and it comes down to a bunch of electrical mumbo jumbo that goes on to explain circuits and fuses… blah, blah, blah. What does it mean to me, consumer and chief holiday decorator? It means I’m far too busy to be checking each bulb when I can pitch the entire strand and get a new one for a couple of bucks. (Not saying it’s right, just speaking the truth.)
Aside from the frustration factor, I feel guilty throwing away holiday lights each year. But look Tiny Tim, Christmas is saved and all my wishes are going to come true……..
LEDs can be used indoors and outdoors, same as traditional lights, but they use just a fraction of the energy that conventional bulbs consume. And LEDs use plastic lenses, instead of glass and filaments, and are virtually unbreakable. Meaning they also could prevent one of the season’s inevitable headaches: the search for that one faulty light that blows out the whole strand. Unlike incandescents, if a single LED goes out, it doesn’t affect the others. But LEDs are much less likely to burn out: They can last about 200,000 hours while conventional bulbs last 1,000 to 2,000 hours.
*While they do use much less power, LED manufacturers say to only put 3 strings of lights together. If you combine LEDs with regular bulbs, you could blow a fuse.
LED vs. traditional – cost and environment
According to Consumer Reports, LEDs are better for the environment, run much cooler therefore reducing fire risk, should last longer, and could save money eventually. But it’s apt to take more than one holiday season for the savings to kick in, and you might not realize any savings if payback takes more than three 90-day seasons. As a rule, you shouldn’t use decorative lights longer than that.
For 50 feet of stringing, 300 hours of light
|Mini-size||C7 size||C9 size|
|Number of bulbs||100||140||50||75||50||75|
- Based on national average of about 11 cents per kilowatt hour.
Buy a few new strands each season – and recycle the old
The up-front cost for LED lights is more, so as each strand of traditional lights burns out (and they will), replace them with a strand of LED lights. No use spending good beer money on holiday lighting when you can take it slow.
Check with Home Depot about their Christmas light recycling program. They’re giving discounts on new LED light strands when you recycle your old holiday lights. You can find more places to recycle your old holiday lights at Earth 911 too.
Now that you’ve eliminated the time spent cursing at your defunct light strands, just think of all the holiday baking and eggnog drinking you can do. Happy holidays!
Submitted by: Karen Ferris