Holiday Lights: How To Safely Economize
Who doesn’t love the sight of holiday lights twinkling all about? Just don’t take any chances with safety—or run up a huge electricity bill. Here are a few tips to consider when planning your holiday display:
Do you still use those old traditional sets of colored bulbs? If you do, you should be aware that some of those older strings can use up to 10 watts per bulb. Strings of modern miniature lights use about 70 percent less electricity— and the bulbs last longer. If you want super efficiency, buy some LED holiday bulbs. These bulbs are safe to touch, won’t burn your hands, and they’re shockproof and shatterproof. Best of all, LED bulbs present no fire hazard, the bulbs last a long time, and they can cut your energy costs by 85 percent.
Additionally, don’t overload your home’s electrical circuits. Older homes generally carry a maximum of 1,800 watts. Newer homes generally can handle 2,400 watts. All outdoor cords, plugs and sockets should be weather-proof. Keep your electrical connections off the ground. Make sure your wiring is clear of drainpipes and railings, too. Check your light sets for frayed wiring, damaged sockets, or cracked insulation before you decorate. If you find any of these problems, replace the entire set.
Make sure you buy the kind of lights you need—indoor sets for your tree and other areas inside your house, and outdoor sets for exterior displays.
Lastly, always make sure that the lights you purchase have the Underwriters Laboratories label, which ensures that they meet safety requirements.