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Holiday LEDs: choose lights that save energy, money

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What gets very hot, uses 250 watts of energy and turns less than 10% of that power into light?

If you guessed one string of 50 old-fashioned incandescent holiday lights, you're right.

While holiday lights do put sparkle in the season, traditional incandescent strings are extremely inefficient. If you haven't yet made the switch to LEDs, it's time for an end-of-year resolution to get efficient with your holiday lighting.

LED holiday lights — the benefits

LED light strings come in a rainbow assortment of colours (even pink and orange) as well as all the shapes of incandescent holiday lighting, such as balls, icicles and candles.

They don't get hot to the touch, so they reduce the risk of fire, and they are durable and have a long life span (30,000-50,000 hours).

But here's the real clincher: they use 80-90% less energy, which can result in significant cost savings.

For example, if you operate six strands of traditional incandescent holiday lights for six hours a day through the month of December at a rate of 8.27 cents per kilowatt hour, it will cost more than $23. Six LED strands, on the other hand, will cost just 28 cents.

Recycle old strings at LightRecycle depots

You can recycle your old incandescent bulbs (and older LEDs that need replacement) at LightRecycle locations across B.C. 

See the full list of accepted products and find a LightRecycle depot near you

More energy efficient holiday decorating ideas

Making the switch to LED light strings is likely to have the most impact on your energy use, but you can increase your efficiency further by putting your indoor and outdoor holiday lights on timers, so they turn on and off at set times and never get forgotten.

Another energy efficient option is to consider reducing the importance of lighting in your holiday decoration, such as using fewer lights for fewer hours over a shorter season, particularly indoors.

Holiday light safety

The fact that LEDs are durable and don't get hot to the touch does reduce the risk of fire, but as with all holiday decorating, it's essential to use them safely.

  • Never connect LED strings to incandescent strings. Your LED bulbs will wear out more quickly and it could create a safety hazard,
  • Use eave clips or insulated staples to hold the lights in place, not nails or tacks, and
  • Ensure you have the right lights for the job. Some LED strings are rated for indoor and outdoor use, some only for indoor. Read the package to be sure.

Download holiday lighting [PDF, 106 KB] for more information and safety tips, or read more about LEDs and other conservation tips for your home or business.