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How Do Holiday Decorations Impact Your Energy Bill?

December 12, 2022 | Blog

The holiday season is a joyful time of year, but it’s also very expensive! Although fun and aesthetically pleasing, decorations can run your electricity bill through the roof. Installing holiday fixtures and lights is expected to raise your energy costs, but how much?

Arnold Electrical Services is here to help you determine the cost of your decor and help lower the financial burden of your beloved displays with a few energy-saving tips. Read on to learn more about your decorations’ impact on your electric bill and the steps you can take to minimize it.

Ways Your Holiday Decor Increases Energy Costs

Holiday Lights

To calculate the cost of your holiday lights, take into consideration the following factors:

  • Your energy cost per kilowatt-hour
  • The types of lights you’re using
  • How many lights you’re using
  • How long you keep your lights on per day

A single strand of string lights can use anywhere from 2.2 to 175 watts per hour, so knowing the type of lights used in your display is essential. It’s also important to account for every light fixture displayed outside and inside your home, such as exterior lighting, landscape lighting, Christmas tree lights and other indoor light-up decorations.

For a rough estimate of lighting costs, use the following equation:

[kWh rate (energy cost per kilowatt-hour)] ✕ [# of watts/1,000 (types of light used)] ✕ [# of lights used] ✕ [# of hours] ✕ [# of days] =Total Estimated Cost


If you’re incorporating inflatables as part of your festive display, calculating their cost is crucial to understanding your overall holiday decor expenses. Although they’re fun, these fixtures use far more energy than string lights — anywhere from 50-600 watts per hour.

For a rough estimate of inflatable costs, use the following equation:

[kWh rate] ✕ [# of watts/1,000] ✕ [# of hours] ✕ [# of days]=Total Estimated Cost

If you have multiple inflatables, each display likely has varying energy usage. Therefore, calculate each one and add up the totals for the gross cost.

How To Save Money On Your Energy Bill

LED Lights

Compared to other lighting options, LED lights are more energy-efficient, long-lasting and durable. According to the Department Of Energy, they use at least 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. Therefore, they’re easier on your wallet and wall sockets as they can handle up to 25 strings connected end-to-end, allowing for an easier installation process.
Although they utilize less electricity, LEDs emit higher levels of brightness and offer a wide range of colors, making them ideal for holiday displays.

In addition, LED lights are safer than compact fluorescent light (CFL) and incandescent bulbs as they do not contain mercury and emit very little heat, minimizing the risk of combustion or burnt fingers when setting them up. Once the holidays are over, LEDs will also make storage safe and easy thanks to their damage-resistant material. Unlike other models made of glass, LED lights are designed with epoxy lenses that ensure your holiday supply will last for the seasons to come!

Timed Lights

Setting your holiday lights on a timer is an easy way to reduce your energy usage and monthly costs without lifting a finger. You can pre-set timers to automatically shut lights off at a reasonable night hour and turn on again after sunset, so you never have to worry about manually plugging and unplugging them every time.

Find extension cords and holiday lights with built-in timers to effectively limit the amount of time they stay on when very few people are up to enjoy them anyway. If you’re using extension cords to power your outside lights, make sure they’re made for outdoor use.

Inflatable Alternatives

As stated above, holiday inflatables require much more energy to power than string lights, and even having a few can significantly increase your utility bill. However, you don’t have to sacrifice your dream display to save on electricity costs. There are a few alternative options for standard inflatables that can help cut energy usage while providing the same visual aspects.

Look for self-inflatable decorations, as they don’t need a power source and therefore do not add to your energy consumption. Many energy-efficient options come with LED lighting so that people can enjoy your festive displays at night as well. Other decorating options without the need for electricity include wood and metal signage and fixtures, such as nativity sets or menorah yard art . These fixtures have stakes for anchoring into the ground to produce a 3-D illusion without the excess storage needed for actual 3-D pieces.

Electrical Safety Tips

  • Refrain from overloading your extension cords with too many lights, and make sure light strands are evenly distributed amongst different cords to avoid overheating.
  • Make sure that your outdoor and landscape string lights are specifically made for outdoor use to avoid fire hazards.
  • Don’t leave lights on for extended periods of time as this creates safety issues.
  • Verify all your holiday decor is in compliance with the National Electrical Code by having a professional inspect or install your lighting.

Find A Chicago Electrician

Our highly trained and certified technicians at Arnold Electrical Services make installing holiday decorations in Chicago easy and safe. Let us take one holiday chore off your list, and we’ll make sure to check our work twice! Call us today.

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