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Energy Wars - Christmas Wakes Up

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to every one of our readers! We’re extremely grateful for you all because, without you, we wouldn’t be able to continue providing the quality of work for central air systems that we do.

That said, we’re enjoying a rather warm Christmas this year. That’s a huge benefit because it means the economic hit from Christmas is less this year. The combination of heating bills, lights, and presents has dropped one of its largest costs: heating. While the cost of gifts is high, it may surprise you to know that running all of those string lights around your home carries a pretty hefty energy bill all the same.

How Much Does Your Heating Cost?

Of course, your costs are based on several different factors. What kind of furnace are you using, electric, natural gas, or propane? How big is your home? How warm do you like to stay? While the measurements are covered differently (electric furnaces are covered in costs per kilowatt-hour while gas is per cubic-foot and propane uses gallons), on average, it costs less to heat a home using natural gas. All told, the estimate for heating a home this winter is roughly $500-600.

Of course, larger homes with less efficient furnaces (regardless of if they are electric or fuel-fed) will cost more to run. You can improve those figures with more energy-efficient heating systems, proper maintenance, or even lowering the thermostat by a few degrees.

The Cost of Christmas Lights

A typical strand of incandescent Christmas lights, 50 lights at 6 watts per bulb, which leaves you with 300 watts per light string. Note that this is for a larger C7-shape light bulb. If we assume an average of $0.10 per kWh, that means a single strand of these lights, run for 5 hours a night, will cost you $4.50 for the month of December.

That doesn’t seem like very much, but consider that you won’t be running only one strand of lights outside of your home. If you’re what one Christmas light retailer identifies as a “heavy decorator,” then the cost will be closer to $115. That’s for just a single month.

The more lights you use, the more expensive it gets too. But don’t worry, just as using energy-efficient heating systems can save you money over time, the same is true for Christmas lights. This year isn’t as bad with the warmer weather, but the next time that bitterly cold temperatures sweep through around the holidays, those incandescent will cost a fortune to keep lit. LED lights, while more expensive initially, last longer and use far less energy to stay on. To be clear, you could easily light 2,500 C7 LEDs for the cost of a single incandescent strand. Just be sure to take care of them between years, since LED lights are more expensive to purchase.

For further questions, talk to the licensed, trained technicians at Cassel Home Comfort. Give us a call at (217) 866-1596. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you might have.