Estimate energy cost before stringing those holiday lights

Posted November 29, 2015 7:43 p.m. EST
Updated November 29, 2015 7:48 p.m. EST

— The lights and sights of the holiday season make everything merry but they may also mean a hefty electric bill.

To help customers manage their displays, Duke Energy offers a holiday lighting energy calculator that estimates holiday lighting costs. Users are able to identify the type of lights they use, the number of 100-bulb strands in their display and how many hours per day the lights will be used to estimate the daily and monthly energy costs.

Duke Energy said that six 100-bulb sets of large, incandescent bulbs plugged in for six hours every night can add as much as $80 to a monthly power bill while the same amount of LED bulbs would increase the monthly power bill by about $7 and mini-LED lights would carry a monthly increase of $1.

“An easy way to save money during the holidays is to estimate your energy costs before decorating to incorporate budget-friendly lighting options,” said Sasha Weintraub, Duke Energy senior vice president of customer solutions. “That way, you can still dazzle your friends and neighbors with your holiday decorations and save energy and money.”

Duke Energy also recommends the following safety tips when putting up a holiday light display:

Check each set of lights for damaged sockets, loose connections, and frayed or bared wires and discard or repair damaged sets.
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 does not have outdoor GFI outlets, have some installed by an electrician.
Inspect all ladders before climbing to ensure they are in working condition and follow specified weight limits. Never use a ladder on or near power lines.