December 10, 2012 6:04 am
On average, holiday lights cost just pennies a day. However, elaborate displays that use large incandescent bulbs can add as much as $80 to a monthly electric bill, depending on the number of bulbs and how long they're lit each night.
There are many less costly, more energy-efficient options available today that even the most elaborate lighting display can fit into anyone's budget. Six 100-bulb sets of large, incandescent bulbs (600 bulbs total), plugged in six hours each night, can add up to $80 to a monthly electric bill. By comparison, six 100-bulb sets of similarly styled light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs would increase a monthly electric bill by $7.
Customers can estimate their holiday lighting costs using an energy calculator like the one found here: www.duke-energy.com/holidaylights.
• Before installing lights, check each set – new and old – for damaged sockets, loose connections and frayed or bare wires. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.
• Never use more than three standard-sized sets of lights per extension cord.
• Plug exterior lights into ground-fault interruptible (GFI) outlets only. If the home lacks outside GFI outlets, call an electrician to install them.
• Before climbing a ladder, inspect it to ensure it's in good working condition and follow the weight limits specified on the ladder. Ladders that lean against a wall or other support should be angled so the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is about one-quarter the working length of the ladder. Never use a ladder for any purpose other than the one for which it's designed.
• Never use a ladder on or near power lines.
Energy Efficiency Tips
The thermostat is the real culprit of a higher December bill, so homeowners are encouraged to select the lowest comfortable setting when they're home, then bump it down a degree or two when they leave.
Other money-saving tips include:
• Hire a qualified technician to inspect home heating and cooling equipment each season to ensure proper operation.
• Change air filters monthly, year-round.
• Ensure drapes, furniture, rugs and holiday decorations do not block heat registers and vents. Clean registers and vents regularly with a vacuum or broom.
• Take advantage of natural solar heat. On sunny days, leave the drapes or blinds open to allow the sun's rays to warm the house.
For more simple ways to control home energy costs, visit www.duke-energy.com/youtility.
Published with permission from RISMedia.