There’s no doubt that the holidays are the most expensive time of year. But it’s not just food and gifts that you’re spending money on. Did you know that you’re also spending more on your energy bill?

 

How Much Electricity Do Christmas Lights Use?

You might be thinking: “So, how much do my holiday lights cost anyway?” We’re here to help you figure it out! First, we’ll need to some math. Be sure to plug in your own numbers into our simple cost-calculating formula.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average price of electricity in 2019 for our service areas was:

State Average Monthly Consumption (kWh) Average Price (Cents/kWh) Average Monthly Bill (Dollar and Cents)
Ohio 874 12.38 108.15
Illinois 709 13.03 92.37
Pennsylvania 837 13.80 115.47
Michigan 637 15.74 100.23
Indiana 960 12.58 120.74

 

Step1: To figure out your kilowatt-hours, first find out the wattage for each of your strings of lights, then multiply that by 0.001.

watts × 0.001=kWh

 

Step 2: Next figure out your kilowatt-hours per day by multiplying your kWh with the number of hours per day you plan to run your lights.

kWh × hours per day=kWh hours per day

 

Step 3: Now to calculate your kilowatt-hours per season, simply multiply your kilowatts per day by the number of days you plan to use your lights this season.

kWh per day × number of days=kWh per season

 

Step 4: Finally, multiply your kilowatts per season by the average cost per kilowatt-hour (0.133) or your specific cost per kilowatt-hour to find out your total cost for a season of running your holiday lights.

kWh per season × 0.133=total cost

 

Confused? That’s all right. If you’d rather not do the calculations yourself, you can still get a pretty good idea of how much you can expect to spend on electricity this season by looking at the three holiday decorator profiles we’ve created below.

*Note: These profiles include figures for both LED and incandescent lights. For the purpose of these examples, we’re assuming 100 bulbs per basic string of incandescent lights and 70 bulbs per basic string of LED lights.

Holiday Decorator Profiles
If you’d rather not do the math yourself, you can still get a rough idea of how much extra you can expect to spend on electricity this season by looking at the three holiday decorator profiles we’ve created below. Note: These profiles include figures for both LED and incandescent lights. For the purpose of these examples, we’re assuming 100 bulbs per string of incandescent lights and 70 bulbs per string of LED lights.

 

Holiday Decorator Type 1: Holly & Jolly

We define this type of holiday decorator as the “economical” decorator. You fit this profile if you prefer to keep your décor simple, with just enough lights to show your holiday spirit.

Incandescent Bulbs LED Bulbs
·       10 basic strings of lights for trees, roof, etc. ≈ 408 watts ≈ 48 watts
× .001 .408 kWh .048 kWh
× 6 hours 2.448 kWh per day .088 kWh per day
× 30 days 73.44 kWh per season 8.64 kWh per season
Total Average Cost for Season (rounded up) $9.77 $1.15

 

Holiday Decorator Type 2: Deck the House

You’re a holiday decorator type 2 if you’re a little more enthusiastic about your lights. You don’t necessarily go “all out,” but you definitely do more than the bare minimum. You might even turn some heads when people drive by your house.

  Incandescent Bulbs LED Bulbs
·       20 basic strings of lights for trees, walkways, etc.

·       + 500 feet of C9 string for the roof and/or yard

816 basic watts + 3,500 C9 watts≈ 4,316 watts 96 basic watts + 480 C9 watts≈ 576 watts
× .001 4.316 kWh .576 kWh
× 6 hours 25.896 kWh per day 3.456 kWh per day
× 30 days 776.88 kWh per season 103.68 kWh per season
Total Average Cost for Season (rounded up) $103.33 $13.79
     

 

Holiday Decorator Type 3: Winter Wonderland

Your house looks like it belongs in the North Pole, right next to Santa’s workshop. People love to drive by and admire your show-stopping holiday display and probably think you had a team of elves to help you.

  Incandescent Bulbs LED Bulbs
·       50 basic strings of lights for trees, walkways, etc.

·       1,300 feet of C9 string for the roof and/or yard

·       95 icicle lights

2,040 basic watts + 9,100 C9 watts + 6506 icicle watts≈ 17,646 watts 240 basic watts + 1,248 C9 watts + 458 icicle watts≈ 1,946
× .001 17.646 kWh 1.946 kWh
× 6 hours 105.876 kWh per day 11.676 kWh per day
× 30 days 3,176.28 kWh per season 350.28 kWh per season
Total Average Cost for Season (rounded up) $422.45 $46.59

 

Save on Your Energy Costs This Holiday Season

As you can see from the above examples, LED lights may require a larger initial investment, but they are far more energy efficient and will save you money in the long run. Not only do they use fewer watts to run, but LED lights last tens of thousands of hours longer than incandescent bulbs, so you can use them for many years to come.

If you’re looking for more ways to save on your electric bill for the holidays, you can also use timers to avoid accidentally leaving your lights on. And instead of connecting multiple strings of lights together, you can use extension cords in less-visible areas to help you get more “mileage” out of your display. Happy decorating!

 

About Santanna Energy Services
Santanna Energy Services located in Austin, TX and Bolingbrook IL, is a Natural Gas and Electricity Provider for Residential, Commercial, Business and more. The company was founded in 1988 and has been in business for 32 years and growing!