Xcel Energy encourages people to save money this holiday season by following safety tips and watching the energy costs of various lights and holiday decorations.
According to Xcel, many people use multiple strings of holiday lights for up to two months this time of year, which provides an opportunity for savings.
Depending on the type and number of lights used, Xcel customers can save between $1 and $100 based on Colorado electricity rates. Consumers who use a strand of 100 LED mini-lights for five hours a day will save more than 80 cents per month per strand, compared to a strand of incandescent bulbs.
Similarly, one strand of 25 LED standard C7 lights can save about $2.50 per month, while another strand of 25 LED standard C9 lights can save more than $3.50 per month. This reserve may vary depending on the manufacturer.
Customers can also save on their bills by turning on their lights during Xcel’s off-peak hours. On non-holiday weekdays, peak rates run from 3pm to 7pm and rates start at 7pm on weekends and holidays, all hours following off-peak rates.
Xcel also urges customers to practice safety when decorating:
- Use lights approved by Underwriters Lab and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for indoor and outdoor lighting.
- Before putting holiday lights outside on homes or trees, look up for any overhead power lines, then store all equipment such as ladders, and extension poles over 10 feet. Never throw lights near or across overhead power lines.
- Check the wiring in the light bulbs and replace any that are damaged or worn. Throw away all that are in bad shape. Also, check for loose connections and damaged plugs or light bases.
- Check the lights before wiring them in to see if there are any burned out bulbs.
- Keep lights away from metal bars and obstructions, which can be energized if the wire has a short circuit. Avoid string lights next to aluminum siding, which can conduct electricity. Never use lights on metal trees.
- Make sure the roof decorations do not block vents or vents.
- Keep lamps away from flammable materials, including draperies.
- Avoid attaching multiple light cords together and plugging them into one place. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the maximum recommended number of cables per unit.