Holiday Lighting

Bright, twinkling lights are one of the joys of the holiday season. Be safe and take an energy-efficient look at the bulbs you are stringing on your trees and the eaves of your house.

Light safely

  • Only use lights tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Check light sets for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per extension cord.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become electrically charged from faulty lights. People or pets touching a branch could be electrocuted.
  • Don’t overload your electrical circuits.
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they are certified for outdoor use.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could short out and start a fire.
  • For added electric shock protection, plug outdoor lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
  • Allow plenty of distance from overhead wires when using a ladder.

Light economically

Mini lighting uses considerably less energy than standard C7 or C9 bulbs. Consider using a tinsel-type garland to reflect the sparkle and brightness of your lighting but don’t allow it to touch the bulbs.

Icicle mini lights don’t use a great deal of electricity, but since the strands are typically shorter than standard mini strands, you need more of them to achieve decorative coverage.

LED (light-emitting diode) holiday lights are the newest way to decorate energy efficiently. LEDs are:

  • Sturdier.
  • Safer because they stay cooler.
  • Longer-lasting (10,000 hours when used indoors).
  • More energy efficient. They use up to 93% less energy than standard mini lights.
Bulb type Watts per bulb Bulbs per string *Annual electric cost
C9 7 25 $8.28
C7 5 25 $5.91
Mini 0.4 100 $1.89
LED 0.09 60 $0.25

*Based on one string burning an average of eight hours per day for 45 days. Costs vary depending on number of strings and how long the strings are burning. Based on 13 cents per kilowatt-hour.