Duke calculator shows cost of Christmas lights

Don't Waste Your Money

Holiday lights bring sheer, magic, brightness and color to the holiday season, but in some cases, it also brings a high electric bill.

"I just think it's nice to pull up on the street and see all the houses lit up," said Kelli Felix

"It's part of the excitement of the season.  I do this every year wherever I live as many lights as I can put up.  If I had a bigger ladder there would probably be more," Felix said.

She hasn't had an energy bill since lighting up her home.

How to find your costs

But she can find out plugging in her lighting information into Duke Energy's Holiday Light Cost Calculator.

Around seven strands on for about five hours costs 20 cents day. "Completely worth it. 20 cents a day for sparkly lights, I'll pay," Felix said.

For 25 years, Bridget Lenz has been changing her display and adding to it.

"It just brings me a lot of joy," Lenz said.

Between her star shower and LED lights, she noticed a higher energy bill. "Maybe $30 or $40 more," Lenz said.

Using the calculator,  it was right on at $1.02 a day.

Our partners at the consumer guide Angie's List say there are two ways to lower those costs.

One is to purchase LED lights, which use a fraction of incandescent.

"If you're thinking about new lights this year, the L-E-D lights are a good alternative," Angie HIcks said,. "They stay cooler, last longer and use less energy. Also, they work with any extension cord, even the ones you can find at the drug store."

The other way to cut costs: set a timer so they turn off at midnight. You would be amazed at how many people keep their lights burning all night, doubling their electric costs.

As always, don't waste your money.

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