The pandemic may hang over this holiday season, but there’s still plenty of reason to get in the spirit and decorate your home. Americans spend about $233 million on holiday lights each year, according to Wired magazine, so CUB has tips to help you cut down on your electricity costs.
- Switch to LEDs. These bulbs have year-round benefits, but did you know that you can get LED holiday lights as well? They use 90 percent less energy than regular strand lights, meaning they’ll make your home festive without racking up your electricity bill.
- Timing is everything. Using a timer can help you maximize the holiday cheer and minimize your costs. Set your timer to start when the sun sets and have the lights turn off around your bedtime. Aim to use your lights six hours or less per day. Although some people are good at remembering to turn the lights on and off, the timer prevents you from forgetting and accidentally leaving the lights on all night.
- Unplug. If you’re going out of town for a COVID-safe trip, unplug appliances and electronics! Even though it may seem harmless to leave your microwave and phone charger plugged in while you’re gone, they continue to use energy even when not in use. We call this Vampire Power. To make sure you aren’t paying for electricity you’re not technically using, unplug key appliances (computers, coffee makers with LED lights) just before you depart (But please leave your refrigerator plugged in!) While you’re at it, turn your thermostat down, too. And don’t forget your mask and hand sanitizer!
- Turn off lights when your tree is lit. If you decorate a tree for the holidays, more often than not, the string lights provide enough lighting to navigate around the room. Why pollute the room with an overhead light? Bonus: With the other room lights off, the soft glow of your tree creates a warm holiday ambiance.