LED Christmas lights smart choice for saving energy

LED holiday lights (WTNH / Kevin Pflaumer)
LED holiday lights (WTNH / Kevin Pflaumer)

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – This is the time of year when many people are looking to decorate the house and trim the Christmas tree. If you like to decorate in a big way, you probably see a big spike in your electric bill this time of year, but with improvements in LED lighting technology recently, you can actually save a lot of money now.

Those LED lights are right next to the incandescents on the store shelf, but they do cost more. News8 asked United Illuminating Program Administrator Lisa Sarubbi what LED lights actually give you for that extra money.

“LEDs don’t have filaments or glass, so if you drop them, they’re not going to break,” Sarubbi said. “They last a lot longer, and they’re cool to the touch, so that there’s less of a risk of fire or shock.”

LEDs used to emit only a harsh, bluish light, but that has changed. Sarubbi showed us around the North Haven Home Depot, which has a display showing the LEDs have a warmer side.

“You can choose the warm white, which is more like a traditional incandescent bulb, but you’re still getting those energy savings,” Sarubbi said.

How much savings? At the Energize CT Center, a North Haven education space supported by United Illuminating and Eversource, they have both kinds of Christmas lights hooked up to an electric meter. Turning on the LED lights barely makes the wheel on that meter move at all. When you switch on the incandescents, however, that wheel spins much faster.

“Let’s say you want to light a 6 foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days,” Sarubbi explained. “If you do that with LED lights, you will pay 27 cents in electricity. If you do that with incandescent lights, you’ll pay $10.”

So you make your money back on your power bill, plus LED lights can do tricks.

“You can get holiday LED light strands that you can dim, or have color-shifting or even connected ones that you can control with your smart phone,” said Sarubbi.

If you are still on the fence about switching lights, you can take home some LEDs for free this Saturday at the Energize CT Center.

“We’re having a holiday light bulb exchange. So you can bring in any old, used, traditional incandescent lighting strand for the holidays, whether it’s the big old C9’s or these little ones and trade them in for up to 2 free energy-star certified LED lights while supplies last,” said Sarubbi

No matter what kind of lights you’re using, if there is any fraying or breaks in the wires, just throw the whole strand away and don’t use them, broken wires are a fire hazard.

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