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How Much Electricity Do Christmas Lights Use?

Christmas Lights

Who can forget the extravagant holiday lighting display Clark Griswold created in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"? We agree with Clark — when it comes to Christmas lights, more is almost always better. However, covering your home in lights this season is sure to increase your energy bill.

So, just how much electricity do Christmas lights use? Keep reading to find out.

What Factors Affect Holiday Light Energy Usage?

While holiday lighting is beautiful and festive, it does cost money to operate. What factors come into play when determining Christmas light energy costs over the holidays?

  • How large is your home? The size of your house directly correlates to energy usage. It takes more lights to decorate a large, multistory home than a modest bungalow. If you want to consume less energy, consider only hanging lights to accent certain parts of your home.
  • How many strands did you hang? The more lights you hang on your home, the more your energy bill will increase. Cutting back a few strands will help you save some cash.
  • What type of Christmas lights do you own? Not all holiday lights use the same amount of energy. For example, a typical strand of 100 incandescent mini light bulbs uses 40 watts of electricity. LED bulbs use far less energy. How much less? For the same cost of running 25 C9 bulbs, you could illuminate 7,200 LED bulbs!
  • How long do you keep your light display on? The longer you have your Christmas lights on, the more energy you'll consume. Want to consume less electricity? Try turning your lights off before you go to bed.

Are you ready to have the most impressive holiday light display on the block? You need a professional’s help. Our friends over at Window Genie offer holiday light design, installation, maintenance, take-down and storage services. As part of the Neighborly® family of home service providers, you can count on Window Genie for outstanding customer service and workmanship.

Do Christmas Lights Use a Lot of Electricity?

Although tiny, Christmas bulbs can have a significant impact on your energy consumption. The United States uses 6.63 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year to power holiday lights — that's enough energy to run 14 million refrigerators!

But those figures don't mean you have to consume that much energy. Anyone looking to use less energy this holiday season should buy LED Christmas lights. Doing so will help the environment and save you money on your utility bill.

Here's a comparison of regular incandescent Christmas bulbs vs. energy-saving LED lights:

  • Incandescent bulbs are hot to the touch, while LED lights stay cool. Why? Incandescent lights use 90% of the energy they consume to produce heat, not light.
  • Incandescent bulbs burn out after about 2,000 hours, but some LED bulbs have a 200,000-hour life!
  • Incandescent bulbs run at a higher wattage than LED bulbs – nearly 90% more! That means they draw more electricity.
  • Incandescent bulbs require multiple outlets to connect several strands. Several LED light strands can be connected to a single outlet.


What Is the Energy Consumption of Your Holiday Lights?

You may wonder how much energy your Christmas light display will consume this season. It's easy to determine the answer using a few simple calculations.

  1. Know the wattage of your lights. You can find this on the original packaging.
  2. Determine the kilowatt per hour (KW/h) by multiplying the wattage by 0.001. This number tells you how much energy you use for each hour of use.
  3. Figure out how much energy you use each day (KW/d). Simply multiply the KW/h by how many hours you plan to keep the Christmas lights on each day.
  4. Calculate the kilowatt per season (KW/s) total. Multiply the KW/d by the number of days you plan on running your lights this season (usually 30-35 days).
  5. Estimate the total cost. Multiply the KW/s by your local power cost (the average is 11.3 cents) to figure out your total for the season.


Now, if math isn't your forte, you could just look for ways to reduce your energy consumption. Take these proactive measures to control the costs associated with Christmas lights:

  • Switch to LED Christmas lights. While they are more expensive to purchase initially, LED lights require less energy and last longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • Consider fiber optic trees and decorations. Not only do fiber optics look beautiful, they're also energy-efficient.
  • Install a timer to control how often and how long you run your lights. You can lower costs by simply turning off your lights before heading to bed.
  • Turn off other outdoor lights while running your holiday lights. Christmas lights are bright enough to illuminate your house fully without any help from other light sources.

Make Things Merry and Bright with Mr. Electric

Decorating for the holidays doesn't have to make your energy bill skyrocket. Picking the right types of lights and monitoring how often you run them will help you save money this season. If you want the best-lit home in the neighborhood, Mr. Electric® can help. We can add dedicated circuits and outdoor-safe outlets to accommodate your holiday lights. Give us a call at 844-866-1367 or connect with us online to schedule service with our electrical installation experts.