‘Tis the season to wrap your house -- both inside and out -- in holiday lights.
But how much is it costing you to spread holiday cheer to those far and near?
A few factors go into determining the additional cost, including the type of light strands you are using, the type of bulbs, and how much you pay per kilowatt hour.
According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the national average price for electricity in September 2021 is roughly 14 cents per kilowatt hour.
Rates vary state by state and are higher in Alaska, California, and Hawaii than they are in the Midwest.
- Multiply wattage by the hours per day the lights will be on, then divide by 1,000 to find kilowatt hours, or kWh per day.
- Multiply the kWh per day by your cost of power usage (found on your electric bill) to find the cost per day.
- Multiply the cost per day by how many days your lights will be on.
The outlet looked at the most popular holiday bulbs to see how they differ in price, including incandescent C7 lights, incandescent C9 lights, LED mini light, and LED C9 light.
LED lights typically fare better with a strand of 300 white mini lights using 21 watts as opposed to incandescent bulbs that use almost three times more at 72 watts. The difference calculated using national average cost is 52 cents for LED versus $1.81 for six hours a day for 30 days.
While LED light strands cost significantly more upfront, it is typically offset by the reduction in your electrical bill. Meanwhile incandescents are more affordable right off the bat but will put a bigger dent on your electric bill over time.
The good news is that many manufacturers are creating energy-efficient alternatives to the popular bulb types, so not only will LED bulbs save you money on electricity, they will also reduce your consumption! LED bulbs also last longer and will continue to work if one bulb goes out, IGS notes.
Another way to save money is to control how long your Christmas lights stay on with a timer.