Many Iowans have lined their homes’ exteriors with strings of twinkling holiday lights, but they may not be prepared for the electric bill that’ll come in a few weeks.
Energy solutions specialist Garry Ruliffson, in Omaha/Council Bluffs, says the price jump you’ll see on your utility bill will depend on what type of lights you’re using.
“A string of ten standard incandescent bulbs is about $35 a month,” Ruliffson says. “If they step up and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to put a few more up,’ and you’ve got 50 strings of lights, it’s going to run up to $175 a month and if they go all out and get 100 strings, it’s going to be closer to $350 a month.”
Advancements in technology over the years have brought us light emitting diodes, or LEDs, which put out just as much light but use much less power compared to incandescents.
“If you had the 50 strings up with LED, it’s about $40 a month, save $135,” Ruliffson says. “If you get those 100-string LEDs, it’s only going to be about $80 a month, around $270 difference.” Another plus for LEDs, due to the way they’re built, they’re more durable, resist breaking and burn much longer.