Energy savings is not a great reason to switch to LED decorative lights
There is something quietly intense about LED holiday lights. I noticed it a few years ago when some of my neighbors started using them.
Was it that they were brighter? Yes, I think so. Very cool, I thought. I am going to try some.
As it turns out, the mini LED lights are brighter. But the larger LED C7 and C9 bulbs, some of which I used, are not as bright as their incandescent counterparts. According to Consumer Reports, incandescent C7 and C9 bulbs are five times brighter than LEDs, though mini LEDs are slightly brighter than incandescents.
All of the LED choices are slightly more expensive than the incandescent. And those of us using LEDs better be using them because we like the look. Yes, they are better for the environment because they save energy, they reduce fire risk, and they run cooler and longer.
But if you follow the recommended guidelines for most of these lights, you won’t realize the savings from reduced energy usage before it’s time to buy new ones. It can take about three seasons – 270 days — for the savings to be realized, and most manufacturers say decorative lights should not be used for longer than that. So, seasonal decorative lighting decisions are not in the same realm as efficient lighting choices we make for our homes.
I’ll admit, I did not research this in advance. And after putting up lights for so many years, I am not much for reading directions, either. So cautions like: “Do not plug more than three strings of mini lights into and extension cord,” or “Do not to connect the mini lights to the C7 or C9 bulbs,” often escape me.
So, in addition to the fact that I probably won’t recoup my investment on my energy bill, my lights might short out before New Year’s.
But I like the way they look.©
– Nancy Kibbee is editor at www.naturalinteriors.com