Between the cost of living crisis, soaring energy bills, and newly installed smart meters displaying exactly how much our daily electricity consumption is costing, it’s hardly surprising that many households are thinking twice about this year’s festive lighting display.
Whether you prefer a few carefully placed twinkling Christmas tree lights or an all-out light show that can be seen from the North Pole, running Christmas lights costs money. But exactly how much electricity do modern Christmas lights use, and how much do they cost to run? Check more out at Christmas Tree Direct.
Do Christmas lights use a lot of electricity?
Generally, Christmas lights don’t use an awful lot of energy. However, with many people opting to decorate their homes with multiple string lights, energy consumption can quickly creep up.
It’s worth bearing in mind that different types of Christmas lights will use more energy than others, with traditional incandescent ones using most. Newer LED lights use around 75% less electricity than older incandescent ones.
How to calculate how much your Christmas lights cost to run
To work out how much you’re likely to spend on running Christmas lights this year, the first thing you need to do is find out the cost of one kW of electricity. You’ll find this information on your most recent energy bill tariff.
Next, check the box the lights came in to find out their wattage. Divide that number by 1,000 to calculate the wattage per hour (kWh).
Once you have that figure, multiply it by the cost of a kW of electricity.
The number you land on is the amount of money it costs to run your Christmas lights for one hour. Multiply this figure by the number of hours a day you plan to light up your home (the average household has Christmas lights turned on for six hours a day) and you’ll have the daily cost to run your Christmas lights.
Ways to save money on running costs
While Christmas lights don’t cost a bank-breaking amount to run, there are always ways to minimise the cost.
For some people, the 1st of December is the perfect time to turn on the Christmas lights. However, you can save money by delaying the big switch-on until later in the month. Wait until the second or even third weekend in December, and you can still fill friends, family, neighbours, and passers-by with festive cheer for the whole festive period.
Lighting your home for three weeks rather than five almost halves running costs and can put a significant dent in the amount spent on running Christmas lights.
Use solar powered lights outside
When you stop to think about it, using solar-powered lights is a no-brainer. Even on cloudy, dull days, six hours of daylight recharges solar-powered lights, ready for them to come on as darkness falls. And because these lights don’t get plugged into a mains power supply, they don’t bump up your electricity bill.
Solar-powered Christmas lights can be used to decorate outdoor trees, fences, and bushes. They can also be strung around windows and soffits to make your house sparkle. Don’t forget to ensure all your outdoor lights are waterproof – otherwise, you could be left with a much larger bill to pay!
Opt for battery powered Christmas lights
Have you ever over-bought batteries, and so you have a hidden stash in a drawer somewhere? If so, now is the perfect time to use them. LED battery-powered lights are cheap to run and jazz up Christmas decorations without plugging them into the mains.
You don’t need to worry about energy prices with battery-powered lights as the exact cost is already paid upfront.
Switch to LED Christmas lights
Making the switch to LED lights can be an expensive initial outlay. However, if your old Christmas lights need to be replaced anyway, it’s definitely worth choosing LEDs for your new lights. A string of 100 LED lights on your Christmas tree costs around 0.0002p per hour to run, making them extremely cost-effective.
What are LED lights?
LED (Light Emitting Diodes) lights use a slim electronic chip rather than a filament to produce light. Unlike traditional filament bulbs, LEDs don’t burn out and don’t become hot to the touch. They use much less energy than incandescent bulbs and are safer to leave on for longer periods of time.
LED Christmas lights last for years and are a wise investment for saving cash in the long run. They don’t need replaced as often as incandescent lights and only use 25% of the energy consumption of old-school fairy lights, making them cheaper to run and more environmentally friendly.
Is it cheaper to leave lights turned on all the time?
There’s a myth that it’s cheaper to leave Christmas lights on for long periods rather than turning them off and on again. Even if this were true, from a safety perspective, it’s always best to turn Christmas lights off whenever you’re not using them. Set a timer for outdoor lights to go off at around 11 p.m., and never leave indoor Christmas tree lights on when you leave the house or go up to bed.
Leaving just your Christmas tree lights on overnight can almost triple the cost of running them, so turning them off for long spells over a 24-hour period helps keep electricity costs manageable.
Most people enjoy the sparkle and shine of Christmas lights over the festive period, and the good news is that you shouldn’t let worries about the running cost put you off too much. By making a few careful considerations, such as decorating later in the month or opting for energy-efficient LEDs, you can significantly reduce cost to run Christmas lights.
With LED and solar-powered bulbs, even the most extravagant outdoor Christmas lighting display is unlikely to cost more than £10-20 to run for the whole month. So go ahead and add that sparkle and shine to your home and make the most of the Christmas spirit!