Christmas lights graphicWhile holiday lights do put a sparkle in the season, traditional incandescent strings are extremely inefficient, turning less than 10% of the power they use into light. If you haven't yet made the switch to LEDs, now’s the time.

LED light strings don't get hot to the touch, so they reduce the risk of fire, and they are durable and have a long life span (30,000-50,000 hours). But here's the clincher: they use 80-90% less energy than incandescents, which can result in significant cost savings. For example, if you operate six strands of traditional incandescent holiday lights for six hours a day through the month of December, it will cost more than $23. Six LED strands, by contrast, will cost just 28 cents.

You can increase your efficiency further by putting your indoor and outdoor holiday lights on timers, so they turn on and off at set times and never get forgotten. Consider reducing the importance of lighting in your holiday decoration, such as using fewer lights for fewer hours over a shorter season, particularly indoors.

For safety’s sake, ensure you have the right lights for the job. Some LED strings are rated for indoor and outdoor use, some only for indoor. Use eave clips or insulated staples to hold the lights in place, not nails or tacks. And never connect LED strings to incandescent strings. Your LED bulbs will wear out more quickly and it could create a hazard. You can recycle your old incandescent bulbs (and older LEDs that need replacement) at LightRecycle locations across B.C.