We’ve been upgrading our Christmas lights over the past few years to LED lights. The main motivating factor behind this is to conserve energy and reduce our electrical costs but still enjoy lighting up our how with lots of multicolored twinkling lights.
Most of our lights are of the mini version, except our tree which has C7’s. There are many advertisements suggesting that you will save money on switching over, but really what I wanted to know was HOW MUCH?
The average C7 bulb are an average of 6 watts per bulb (8 watts per bulb for a C9 strand). So, a 25 bulb strand is 150 watts (200 watts for a C9 strand). Our tree that is pictured takes 3 strands of C7 bulbs. An entire strand of LED C7 bulbs 2.4 watts. If you do the math you will see that I was using 450 watts to light my Christmas tree, but now it is 7.2. It would have been 600 watts if I was using C9 strands.
7.2 watts vs. 450 watts is an incredible difference!
So, what does that equate for energy bill savings?
The average cost for energy in the U.S. in August 2011 was 12-cents per kWh. To figure out how much money it would cost to light this tree for 5 hours a night for 1 month, I will use the following formula:
wattage x hours used ÷ 1000 x price per kWh = cost of electricity
Now, if I plug in my numbers using my old 3 strands of C7’s, I would get: 450 x 150 ÷ 1000 x .12 = $8.10 ($10.80 for C9’s)
Let’s see what happens when I switch the LED C7’s: 7.2 x 150 ÷ 1000 x .12 = .13 THAT’S ONLY 13 CENTS! FOR A MONTH!
If you want to be more accurate on the affect Christmas lights have on your energy bill, then you need to check with your electric company and find out what your rates are.
Let’s use the same formulas to find out how much it costs to light all the mini lights in my front windows. I switched from 3 strands of 100 bulbs and 3 lighted figures at 50 bulbs a piece, for a total of 450 bulbs used to light these three windows.
When I upgraded to LEDs I used 3 strands of 60 LED bulbs and the lighted figures were upgraded and still remained at 50 bulbs a pieces, for a total of 330 bulbs. (Bet you are wondering why I upgraded to a smaller amount of bulbs, well LEDs are brighter and you can see in the picture the color reflects off the glass nicely and so I have a bigger impact with less bulbs.)
To do this equation you need to know that average bulbs require .5 watt per bulbs. Where as the LED bulbs require .05 watts per bulb.
So, with average bulbs would cost me monthly: (450x.5) x 150 ÷ 1000 x .12 = $4.05
When I upgraded to LED mini-light strands and figures it will cost me: (330x.05) x 150 ÷ 1000 x .12 = 30-cents
OK, I know what you are thinking – LED lights are expensive compared to regular lights. They are. You can pay $3 for 100 twinkling regular lights or $8 for 60 mini LEDs and it will take 5 years to re-coup the costs on the upgrade. Yes, that is true. But you aren’t reading Northern Cheapskate because you pay full price for everything. You know how to find a deal and shop after-holiday sales. Watch for LED strands to come on sale or buy them at the end of the season, but don’t wait for then to reach 75% off because I promise you they will be snatched up before that. Upgrade your lights as needed, when a strand of regular bulbs quits working. Remember, that energy costs continue to rise. They were an average of 7-cents per kWh 8 years ago. If the electricity cost savings are not enough, then do it to be a little bit greener. And while you are at it, make sure you recycle your old Christmas lights. Recycling your old strands is not only going to be better for the environment, but you have less waste in your garbage can, a service you pay for.
So, will you try to conserve energy and save money on your electricity costs or are you deterred by LED light prices?