How much are holiday lights costing you?

(NewsNation) — With the holidays quickly approaching, many are decorating their homes with festive holiday lights. But the cost of electricity can add up quickly.

Those who are looking to spread a little bit of holiday cheer by decorating their homes with lights should expect their electricity bill to be a bit higher than usual.

“It’s worth it,” Homeowner Robert Tucker said. “I don’t even think that cost is ever a thought. When you see cars lined up down the street and kids jumping out to see all the characters, it’s just so much fun.”

“At the end of the day, we know December is going to be a higher electric bill but it’s worth all the smiles,” Courtney Tucker said.

A walk down the Christmas lights aisle can be overwhelming. First, the bulb type – LED or incandescent? Then there’s the size of the bulb, with the most common ranging from the typical strand of mini bulbs, followed by C7 and the larger C9 (roughly 2.25″), Nexstar Media Wire reported.

Electricity usage is charged by the kilowatt-hour and lights carry a certain wattage. To determine the electricity usage of a strand of lights, you can follow this formula:

  1. 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.
  2. Multiply the kWh per day by your cost of power usage (found on your electric bill) to find the cost per day.
  3. Multiply the cost per day by how many days your lights will be on.

The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the national average price for electricity for customers in September 2022 was a little more than 16 cents per kilowatt-hour. That rate varies, with those in Alaska, California, Hawaii, and New England seeing higher-than-average costs.

Running an average display with LED Lights from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. can raise monthly electric bills by $5-to-$7. Using older incandescent lights can increase monthly bills by $33.

For more elaborate set-ups, LED lights will run an estimated $47 higher per month. The same decorations with incandescent lights push your monthly bill to a whopping estimated $350.

But there are ways to make holiday lights more efficient and to cut down on energy costs.

“You want to look at the type of bulb. You want to use LED You want to look at the size of the bulb, and you want to make sure everything is on a timer,” David Hammond with Laurens Electric Cooperative, Inc. said.

NewsNation asked ComEd of Illinois how much it would cost for a house to be decorated like Clark Griswald’s home in the 1989 Christmas film “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” for 31 days.

The company said using traditional incandescent holiday lights in widespread use when the movie came out in 1989, it cost nearly $3,700. That’s nearly $120 per day.

Using LED holiday lights now, it would cost around $69 for the month.

Nexstar Media Wire’s Addy Bink contributed to this report.


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