Tis the Season for Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

Holiday season calls for festive decorating around the house. Whether you’re setting up your Christmas tree or putting up lights outside, here are some helpful hints to help you decorate around the home.

Picking Out Christmas Lights

There are a couple different lights to choose from. We’ll tell you the difference so you can know what you’re looking at when you go to the store.

Types of Lights

  • Incandescent String Lights – Inexpensive and have been standard for years. Variety of styles and colors available.
  • LED (light-emitting diode) lights – LEDs are initially more expensive than incandescents, but are 85% more energy efficient and can last up to 40 holiday seasons. They also remain cool to the touch. They give off a bright light with various shapes and colors.
  • White Lights – White light gives your tree a classic look without distracting from your ornaments.
  • Colored Lights – Multicolored lights give your tree a more vintage look. Lights can also come in a string of one color (pink, purple, blue, etc).

Size of Light Bulbs 

C9 & C7 – C standards for cone shaped. C9 light bulbs are over 2” long and fit an E17 base. C7 are smaller than the C9 bulbs. They have an E12 base (the same as a nightlight). They are about 1 ½” long.

C9 and C7 lightbulb

Both the C7 and C9 light bulb types are pretty and can double as an ornament. In the traditional, incandescent style, they put off a lot of a heat. Because of the high heat that is put off from the lights, it is recommended to not decorate your tree with either of these “C” shaped lightbulbs. They do come in LED options if you like the look on your tree.

Mini lights – this size of lights is what is recommended for your Christmas tree.

Tip: Pets or small children will grab at low hanging ornaments or lights. Keep that in mind when decorating.

How many lights do you need for your tree?

A go-to rule is 100 lights for every-foot-and-a-half of tree. To make your tree extra lit, an additional strand of lights to wrap around the trunk of the tree would be recommended. Below is a quick estimate for each size of Christmas tree height.

How many lights do  you need for your tree?

Tree Height        # Mini Lights            5mm LEDs              C7 Bulbs

4′                             400                               300                           25
6′                             600                               450                           50
8’                             800                               600                           100
10’                           1,000                            750                           150
12’                           1,200                            900                           200
14′                           1,500                            1,125                        250
20′                            2,000                           1,500                        480

Tip: Position your tree about 2 feet from a corner or wall so you can easily access the back of the tree as you place the lights and ornaments.

Tip: Purchase a timer to help you utilize your Christmas lights to their fullest as well as saving money on your electricity bill.

Calculate your Electricity Usage Cost

  1. Know your wattage (you can check it on the lights box package or online).
  2. Take your wattage and multiply 0.001 to find kwh (kilo-watt hour)
  3. Multiply by your average of having your lights on (5 is pretty standard) to find the kwh/day.
  4. Multiply by 30 (for how many days in the holiday season) to find the kwh/season.
  5. Multiply by 11.3 cents (or whatever your rate is) to calculate your cost.

The Formulas visualized:
Watts x 0.001 = kwh
Kwh x 5 hours a day = kwh/day
Kwh/day x 30 days = kwh/season
Kwh/season x .113 cents = cost

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