It’s that time of the year where Christmas music is already blasting through speakers in shops and social media debates kick off on when is too early to put up the Christmas tree. The other big philosophical question around this time of year is “to hang Christmas lights or not to hang Christmas lights?”.
And, if you do hang Christmas lights, will you go with incandescent, LED bulbs or solar? Christmas is expensive enough without having to add on a hefty electricity bill for a little extra sparkle. Thankfully, Canstar Blue has a guide on how to watch your energy consumption when decking the halls with strings of festoon lights or flashing candy canes.
What to consider before buying Christmas lights
According to Christmas light website, christmaslightsetc.com, your choice of display and bulb type can make a big difference to your resulting energy bill. For example, a 100-string count of incandescent mini lights runs at 40 watts, while a 70-count of 5mm Wide angle LEDs is approximately 4.8 watts in total. The lower the watt total, the lower the festive electricity bill, so it pays to shop for lights carefully! This is also a key shopping tip when it comes to Christmas lights. Incandescent bulbs have 80-90% higher wattage than LED bulbs so, that means, the cost to power an incandescent bulb can be up to 90 times greater than an LED alternative. There are, of course, solar light options that rely on the sun’s rays to power up the bulbs. This is good for the pocket and the environment.
Shopping for Christmas lights at the DIY store? Check out how DIY stores in New Zealand stack up when it comes to customer satisfaction.
But what about if the type of light or display you want doesn’t come in a solar option? Or, if you want the lights to last longer than a few hours into the night? Canstar Blue has some tips on how to be efficient with your electricity when using traditional Christmas lights.
How to be energy efficient with your Christmas lights
Christmas lights can last for many years if you take care of them but, if you’re still parading those incandescent fairy lights that you bought 10 Christmases ago, it probably still makes financial sense to make the switch over to LED Christmas lights. The savings you make on your electricity bill will pay for the lights.
Here are a few other tips on how to reduce your power bill this Christmas:
- If you’re going to bed early, use a switch timer to make sure that your Christmas lights are not left on overnight.
- Plan your light display. Flashing or twinkling lights can consume up to twice as much power as non-flashing lights. Unless you’re really trying to show up the neighbours, or are holding some sort of backyard Christmas light display, stick with solid Christmas lights. Some more obvious tips are to only turn on your lights when it is completely dark, only have your display lit throughout December and not to overdo it with the number of lights.
Consider whether your current electricity provider is working for you. As well as making sure you are using your own appliances and gadgets more efficiently this festive season, it also makes sense to check that your power company is still working for you. To help you narrow down your options, Canstar Blue has surveyed New Zealanders on their level of satisfaction with electricity providers in New Zealand. Use Canstar Blue’s free electricity provider comparison tool, below.