A Better Way to Light Up the Holidays

Holiday lights may help bring joy to the season, but they can also bring added costs to your energy bill. This year, save energy and money by purchasing energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) strands to decorate your home or business.

Standard incandescent holiday lights–and even mini-lights–can use a significant amount of energy and regularly involve costly (and irritating) bulb replacements. LED lights produce a bright light for up to 20 holiday seasons!

Compare the Costs

The following chart compares the energy usage and operating cost of LED holiday lights to both mini and large incandescent holiday lamps in your home.

Type of LightNumber of lightsPower demand per light* (W)Annual**Average Annual Operating Cost***
Large incandescent3007.00472.50$69.93
Mini Incandescent3000.4530.38$4.50
C6 LED Lights3000.0432.90$0.43

* Based on testing done by PG&E
** Based on annual operation of 225 hours per year (5 hours/day for 45 days)
*** Calculated using average PG&E residential rate as of June 2007, $0.148/kWh.

LED holiday light strings are available at many retailers in northern and central California. Sets vary in cost depending on the style or number of lights on a strand. For example, a string of 35 LED lights costs from $8 to $10, while a string of 100 LED lights retails for $10 to $15.

LED technology produces light in a completely different way than incandescent lamps. While incandescent lamps emit light by heating a filament and produce waste heat in the process, LED lights are illuminated solely by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material. Because they produce almost no heat, LED holiday lights present a greatly reduced risk of fire hazard over traditional incandescent strands and are safe to touch without worrying about burning your hands.

Lighting Safety Preparation

Pacific Gas and Electric Company offers the following safety tips for all types of holiday lighting:

  • Before you string outdoor lights, check for overhead power lines. Don't place yourself or any object in a position where you or it may come in contact with a power line–the result can be fatal. Look up before raising ladders or other objects. Keep at least 10 feet away from overhead lines.
  • Make sure lights used to decorate the outside of the house are approved for outdoor use. Never use indoor lights outdoors.
  • If stringing lights on outdoor trees, make sure tree limbs haven't grown into or near power lines. Branches or entire trees can become energized if they contact a power line.
  • Check all light strands for cracked or broken plugs, frayed insulation, or bare wires. Worn cords can cause fires. Discard damaged sets of lights.
  • Route cords inside your home so they won't trip anyone. Don't place them under rugs, furniture, or other appliances. If covered, cords can overheat or become frayed and can cause a fire.
  • Follow the manufacturer's limits for number of strings that can safely be connected together.
  • Always turn off tree and decorative lights–indoors and outdoors–when leaving the house and before going to bed.