I noticed that my neighbors had put up their Christmas lights well before Thanksgiving this year. On social media, many of my friends already have their trees. It’s been a rough year and I think people are ready for sparkling lights and festive decorations to boost spirits.
Since holiday decorating includes a lot of lights, I decided to check Avista’s Energy Guide before I committed to a design strategy.
First, check your lights for damage. It’s been a year since you’ve seen those lights and if you are like me, you may not have organized them to be knot-free. Check for fraying wires, damaged sockets or cracked insulation. If there is damage, throw that set away and replace the whole thing.
If you end up replacing it, how about getting LED strings instead? They may cost a little more than the traditional lights, but they last so much longer and use a fraction of the energy of the old ones—up to 90 percent less. If you have a 100-light string of traditional bulbs and keep it on for 360 hours in a month, that could add an estimated $7.20 to your electric bill. A similar string of bulbs using LED lights only costs an estimated $1.73 a month.
LEDs work just as well outside as they do inside—they are impervious to cold, heat and moisture. They also stay cooler and reduce your risk of fire if you are using a real tree.
Many folks like to place inflatable, fan-driven, light-up decorations in their front yard this time of year. These can cost anywhere from $1.11 to $1.68 per inflatable to your monthly bill if you run them for eight hours a day--$3.34 to $5.05 per inflatable if you run them for 24 hours a day. Consider getting a timer that will shut them off at a certain time of day or unplug them before you go to bed at night.
Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday.