Put a little light on the season

November 16th 2012
Put a little light on the season

A little light can go a long way during the holiday season and choosing the most appropriate holiday lights to decorate your house can add up to big energy savings over this season and seasons to come. If you are purchasing new lights consider holiday energy efficient (LED) light emitting diodes, rope lighting or fibre optic cabling. Timers can also save you energy and money by automatically turning lights on at dusk and turning them off at a scheduled time. Be sure the timer is designed for the required amount of wattage.


LED Lights (Light Emitting Diodes)


Holiday LED strings are available for sale through many Canadian retailers. These energy-efficient light strings are superior to standard incandescent light strings. Seasonal LED lights use up to 90 per cent less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent holiday lights.


LED lights may initially cost more than conventional light strings, however they will pay for themselves within one season or two (depending on how often they are used) through reduced energy consumption and bulb replacement. They are more durable, lasting seven to ten times longer. The amount of electricity consumed by a single 7-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LED bulbs — enough to fill two 24-foot strings. Due to the fact that they produce very little heat, seasonal LED lights reduce the risk of fire.


Tip: When purchasing holiday LED lighting, look for ENERGY STAR® labelled products.


Incandescent mini-lights


Introduced in the 1970s, incandescent mini-lights use 1/10 the energy of traditional incandescents. With a 100-bulb string using about 40 watts of power, they generate considerably less heat than traditional bulbs.


Traditional Incandescents


Traditional screw socket bulbs use either 5 or 7 watts per bulb. With 25 lights per string, that translates to a lot of power — between 125 to 175 watts per string. And unfortunately, most of that energy is wasted. Less than 10 per cent of the power used by an incandescent bulb goes into creating light — the rest is lost as heat.


Available for indoor or outdoor use, the bulbs and tubing are available in several different colours, and these are well suited for decorations or feature illumination.


Do not leave any light sockets empty if you want sections in your light string unlit. This can create a fire hazard, or could be fatal if someone touches the inside of the empty socket. Instead place a burned-out bulb in the socket. This will not affect the other lights on the string. Be sure to turn off your holiday lights before going to bed, and never leave lights on when you are away from home, unless they are connected to a timer. Don’t leave your outdoor lights up year-round. Cords and bulbs will deteriorate, reducing their safety and shortening their life.

Use Canadian Standards Association (CSA)-approved lights, cords, plugs and sockets that are marked for outdoor use or wet locations.  Also, avoid using extension cords by installing a separate weatherproof circuit for holiday lighting. Place the circuit under the eaves, with a switch at your door. Make sure outdoor circuits are equipped with an approved, weather-proof ground fault circuit interrupter.


Make sure to practice ladder safety


If you are using a ladder to hang your Christmas lights, the first step to using any ladder safely is to understand how to use them.  If you are not comfortable with heights or working on ladders consider hiring a reputable professional to do the job.