Are Your Holiday Decorations Impacting More Than Your Wallet?

The dazzling strands of lights that illuminate colors into the dark night skies bring cheery feelings. However, these holiday decorations do more than signal the start of the holiday season. Those string lights could be costing you extra, while increasing your carbon footprint. Let’s keep that festive, cheery feeling and offer just a few adjustments to lower those extra costs while practicing greener holidays.

Choosing Your Lights

Whether you’ve chosen new lights or you have some from previous years, there are two main types of lights. Incandescent lights bring that nostalgic warm glow to your home, while LED can offer the same familiar warmth with better energy efficiency, safety, and longevity. Although incandescent is known for their cozy ambience, LED lights offer their own line of warm lights that are top-performing, will keep you safer, and can save you money this holiday.

LED String Lights

  • Durability
    • LED lights can last up to 100,000 hours compared to 3,000 hours for incandescent
  • Energy Efficiency
    • LED uses 75% less energy, while incandescent releases 90% of its energy as heat
      • Using 10 LED string lights (instead of incandescent) can save you $30 this holiday season
  • Safety
    • LED strands will stay cool to the touch, unlike incandescent that can become extremely hot and potentially cause a fire
  • Variety Of Colors, Styles, & Sizes
    • LED lights offers warm white, pure white, cool white, and other multi-colored options

Environmental Impact

While holiday lights are a staple for this time of the year, they can have serious consequences for the environment. The carbon dioxide produced from string lights can fill up 15,500 hot air balloons. That’s a lot! Not only do carbon emissions go up, holiday lights can affect light pollution, confuse wildlife’s nocturnal routine, and waste energy. We’re not trying to be a Scrooge, but choosing LED lights can reduce the adverse effects string lights can have on the environment and help make eco-friendly decisions while spreading holiday cheer.

If you’re ready to make the switch to LED and don’t know what to do with your old holiday lights, drop them off to be recycled! Whether they’re broken, burnt-out, or impossibly tangled, you can recycle them for free at many locations across Colorado. The string and bulb are shredded into tiny pieces and used to make new products, like slipper soles. Not only will you have switched to a more sustainable option, you’ll give someone else the chance to repurpose your old lights.

Avoiding An Electrical Overload

When you’re decorating your home, the last thing on your mind might be how to avoid an electrical overload or knowing what to do if it happens. The dangers of electrical overloads can be serious and need to be approached cautiously. An overload can lead to a fire which can impact more than just your home, it can affect those around you. Here are some good tips to keep everyone protected and safe this holiday season.

Preventing An Overload

  • Don’t String Up Too Much
    • Only string together three sets of lights into an extension cord
  • Utilize Exterior Outlets
    • Take advantage of plugging in your lights to exterior outlets, rather than extension cords
  • Don’t Plug Into Another Power Strip!
    • Only plug in one power strip into an outlet
  • Spread Out Your Decorations
    • Using one plug for multiple decorations can cause an overload, evenly disperse your décor based on plug availability

Identifying An Overload

  • Circuit Breaker Trips Frequently
    • If your power goes out, turn everything off check your breaker
  • Flickering Lights
    • Your lights flicker and become dim then suddenly surge
  • Damaged Extension Cords
    • Extension cords showing discoloration or feeling hot to the touch might cause an overload or fire
  • Hearing Sounds
    • Noticing a humming or buzzing noise coming from your lights or outlets can signal an overload

If you think you’ve overloaded your electrical circuits, remember to stay calm. Unplug some of the cords from the effected outlets and redistribute them. Once you’ve got it redistributed safely, flip your breaker back on. Constant flickering of lights and noticing a discoloration of outlets and switches can be a sign of further safety issues that require an electrician to inspect.

Save Your Energy

While your decorations are lighting up your home, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of it. Taking just a few extra steps for your decorations can make it easier on you and save you a little bit of money to use for something else during the holidays.

  • Use Smart Plugs & Timers
    • Remembering to turn off your lights is a chore. Timers and smart plugs can turn them on & off automatically at specific times
  • Utilize Alternative Decorations
    • Wreaths, garland, and ribbons cost nothing and make your home look and feel festive
  • Avoid Inflatables
    • Varying by size, inflatables can cost an extra $3-$15 a month. The more you run it, the higher the cost

Holiday Specs

If you’re like us, you might take a drive or two around the neighborhoods looking at all the unique holiday decorations. While you’re looking at lights, don’t forget to grab some holiday specs for the whole family! These holographic glasses give you a fun, festive sight while looking at holiday lights! You can get glasses that can let you see snowflakes, gingerbread men, snowman within the lights. Order your pair, grab some hot chocolate, and experience holiday lights in a new way.