How much does it cost to run Christmas lights?
The total cost to run your Christmas lights for a full season can vary widely depending on your display’s size and type of bulbs used. A small LED setup can cost less than a dollar for the year, but a full Christmas-enthustiast display with incandescents may cost upwards of a hundred dollars per year in electricity. It’s important to consider the electric bill you may be looking at before purchasing a fully lit Christmas display. Before utilizing the calculator below, we recommend you check out our circuits and amperage guide to for building a full picture of how many bulbs you can use in your installation.
Enter the total watts your Christmas lights consume, which can be found from the electric load calculator. Decide on and enter the average time period your lights are kept on for the season. Lastly, look at your electricity bill to determine the cost of electricity per kilowatt hour for your location. The national average is $0.1315/kWh. Click on calculate once you’ve entered the four values.
The total cost added onto your bill can be adjusted quickly by looking at the types of bulbs we offer along with their electricity requirements. A full table of all the bulbs and their wattages can be found on our circuits and amperage guide.
Total wattage for Christmas lights is easy to calculate: add the wattage of each bulb in the display to get the total wattage. The easiest way to calculate it is by multiplying the wattage of the bulb you want to use by how many bulbs you expect to have on display.
How Much Does Electricity Cost for City Christmas Decorations?
A city or university looking to decorate their streetscape for the holidays will on average have eight large outdoor pole decorations. One of our best sellers, the 6 foot DazzLED Diamond Snowflake, has 60 C7 LED bulbs on it. The total wattage for 60 C7 LED bulbs is about 24 watts. For eight decorations, that adds up to 192 watts.
Many cities also choose to have 25 feet of garland on the street poles with decorations on them. For eight decorations, that’s 200 feet of garland. 200 feet of lit garland adds an additional 400 C7 sunlight bulbs to the total bulb quantity. Those bulbs add 160 more watts to the total wattage.
Lastly, let’s assume this city also wants a snowflake display hanging over the street. The 5 snowflake configuration includes 300 LED cool white bulbs, adding 120 watts to the total.
Altogether, the total wattage for this display is 472 watts. If the organization keeps their lights on for 7 hours a day, 45 days a year, and their electricity costs $0.113 per kilowatt hour, then this city is looking at a $19.48 electric bill.
Electricity Cost for Incandescent Christmas Lights
What if instead of LED, the municipality wants all of their LED bulbs to be swapped out for incandescents? How does changing from LED to incandescent affect their cost of electricity?
First, let’s look at the bulb electricity consumption chart to identify that a C7 incandescent bulb can pull either 5 or 7 watts. The 7 watt bulb is found in only select colors, and in those colors there will also be a 5 watt variation. For the large majority of needs, a 5 watt incandescent bulb is the best choice.
Next, let’s determine the wattage for each part of the display with a 5 watt bulb instead of the .4 watt LED.
- 8 DazzLED Snowflake: 2,400 watts
- 200′ Lit Garland: 2,000 watts
- 5 Street Line Snowflakes: 1,500 watts
Total watts: 5,900.
Given the same time period for running the lights, the electric bill for an incandescent Christmas light display adds up to $243.46.
The 5 watt incandescent bulb consumes 1250% more energy than the .4 watt LED. You can estimate the cost of any other wattage bulbs by dividing the old wattage with the new wattage to get the percent change. Then use the percentage changed multiplied by the old cost to determine the new cost for electricity.
We hope you’re able to use this information effectively for making informed decisions when purchasing Christmas lights. A full picture of the costs is vital to consider, especially when crafting Christmas displays with thousands of bulbs. You can view our full selection of LED and incandescent Christmas lights in the Display Sales shop.