Christmas lights and your electric bill

GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – The holidays wouldn’t be the same without Christmas lights, but have you ever wondered how they affect your utility bills?

In this 7NEWS Consumer Exclusive we get answers and some tips for saving money, how you can celebrate the holidays and at the same time save your energy bill.


If you’re lucky, your neighborhood might have a family like the Greenville Goeppers. Becky and her son Will put out 80,000 lights that are tuned to music.

“Our typical Christmas bill is about $ 400 more than our regular bill,” said Ms. Goeppers.

For the less ambitious light lover, here is the breakdown of the average December utility costs (assuming the lights are on for around 5-6 hours a day).

  • A 7 foot indoor tree with about 500 lights will get you $ 11 for the old incandescent lamp and only $ 3 for the LED.
  • A 12-foot outdoor tree with large light bulbs costs about $ 120 versus just $ 30 for LEDs of the same size.

David Hammond, along with Laurens Electric, highlighted the three ways to save Christmas lights:

“You want to look at the type of light bulb, you want to use an LED. You want to look at the size of the lightbulb. Then you want to make sure you have everything on a timer, ”said Hammond.


A timer could also come in handy on inflatables that use more than $ 3 per day of electricity ($ 90 per month) for extended periods of operation.


Of course, the best way to cut that bill in winter is with a well-maintained stove with a thermostat setting close to 68 degrees, at least at night.

If you change your filter, your oven will run much more efficiently, which will save you money, and you should change it at least every 90 days. Writing the date on the filter will help you remember when you last changed it.

The rule of thumb is to change the filters at the beginning of each new season.


Hammond also recommended that you set your water heater to around 120 degrees (and no more than 140).

“We discovered that one of the things that can really go wrong with a water heater is the burner that has burned out. Usually the other burner that is in it works extra hard and just runs all the time, and you can see a $ 100 to $ 200 increase in your electric bill, ”he explained.

Laurens Electric (called LEC Connect) and Duke Energy have apps that not only show you daily usage, but also warn you when a spike occurs. You can search for it in your app store.


Other power guzzlers are:

  • the old refrigerator or the freezer in the garage
  • Space heaters, especially those that are left on for many hours a day (can cost $ 125 per month)

Back at the Goeppers, they may have added more lights, but they’re saving too!

“We had probably a quarter of the lights in our old house that we do here, and our bill was still $ 3-400 more than usual. When we lived there [we were] To do incandescent bulbs, so using the LED is a big saving. Huge, ”she explained.

And both Goepper and her son agree that the payout is worth it despite the costs.

“It takes time and effort, but it’s really fun and it’s worth it in the end when you see it glow and make so many people happy,” said 10-year-old Will Goepper.

The moral of this vacation consumer story: Some small tweaks can really save your winter monthly bill, especially switching to LEDs which can save up to 70 to 80 percent!

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