How much energy do Christmas lights use?
Altogether you’ll need to keep your holiday display under the circuit’s maximum ampacity and each string of lights also needs to be below its maximum amperage-rating for its wire gauge. With a major holiday decoration installation, that can be a lot of moving parts to keep track of. We created the electric load calculator to help you quickly identify areas of safety concern.
The calculator is best used to figure out how many amps your Christmas display will use, or how many bulbs you can have given a maximum amperage. Calculating both of these numbers will be a crucial step towards creating the perfect holiday display.
To find out watts and volts for a variety of light bulbs, review the table in our resource about circuits and wire amperages.
- Enter any two of the electricity metrics (watts, volts, amps, ohms).
- Enter either the bulb count or the total amps.
- Click calculate and all empty values will be calculated.
Total Amps is multiplied by 120%. Since Christmas lights draw continuous power for hours at a time, it’s important to build in additional safety measures for electricity consumption.
Now that you know your total wattage, you can also find out how much running holiday lights for the entirety of the season will cost. Use the electricity cost calculator to find out.
How Many Christmas Decorations Can You Use Before Overloading a Circuit?
Now that you know your total amps, you can also calculate how many Christmas decorations you can run on a single circuit. With the default values given in the calculator, we’re using 85 C7 bulbs that have 0.34 total amps. This is equivalent to displaying one angel pole decoration.
Given one angel pole decoration is 0.34 amps, we can determine that you could theoretically load up to 44 total angel pole decorations on a single circuit. If you were to string each decoration together, however, you could only connect up to 17 because the 18-gauge wire is rated for up to 6 amps.
Incandescent Christmas Lights Electricity Consumption
What happens to the total amps if we change the LED bulbs to incandescent?
Our Christmas bulb electricity consumption chart shows a full list of products along with their wattage and voltage. Exchanging a C7 LED for a C7 incandescent changes the bulb’s wattage from 0.4 to 5. If we plug these numbers into the electric load calculator above, our total amps increases to 4.25. This makes sense because 0.4 watts changed to 5 watts is an 1250% increase, and 0.34 to 4.25 is also a 1250% increase.
Instead of the original 44 LED decorations, the maximum number of incandescent angel pole decorations we can fit on a 15-amp circuit is 3.
If you’d like to learn more about how many Christmas lights you can use, check out the circuits and maximum amperages guide.