MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (December 1, 2015) — Whether your preference is for 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights or candles in the window, Eversource wants to make sure your holiday illumination is safe and affordable. Holiday lights can add a modest amount to the average customer bill over the holiday season. And, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, 150 home fires annually start with holiday lights and other decorative lighting while another 260 home fires begin with Christmas trees. Innovations in holiday décor, however, help make the bright nights safer and less expensive!

Holiday Lights

Flip the LED switch

LED holiday lights have many benefits over standard string lighting. They are cool to the touch and, therefore, less hazardous. Plus, LEDs cost less to operate, using a fraction of the energy of older string lights. A string of standard incandescent mini lights uses around 40 watts (W) while a comparable string of LEDs uses just 4.8W, which can make a big difference over the course of the season. For example:

3 strings of incandescent mini lights, using 40W each for 150 hours a year = $3.20
3 strings of LEDs, using 4.8W each for 150 hours a year = $0.56

In addition to costing less to run, LED strings generally have fewer bulbs that burn out and longer strings of them can be safely run from the same power source.

Buyers should be aware, however, that LEDs generally cost more up front, so look for sales to stock up and realize the savings.

Before you string

Make sure you’re using lights that have been safety tested and are appropriate for the way they will be used. Check that lights placed outside are labeled for outdoor use.

Check all your lights, especially older ones, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections and toss any damaged sets. Check extension cords too, and plug outdoor lights and decorations into “GFCI” grounding outlets (portable GFCI units can be purchased where electric supplies are sold).

Practice good extension cord safety — never run cords under rugs or coil them tightly around themselves, which can cause them to overheat — and consider a programmable timer to your strings of lights to ensure lights are not accidentally left on. A timer also helps regulate energy use and reduce cost.

Always look up first before you decorate outdoors. Never raise ladders or extend objects into or near power lines.For more holiday lighting and electrical safety tips, visit our website.