Mon, Dec 12th 2011 07:00 am
Holiday lights abound this time of year. Pictured is a decorative home in Youngstown.
by National Grid
National Grid understands the
importance of celebrating the holiday season with family and friends, and warm,
colorful lighting. While the current economic climate may be imposing for
many customers - especially during the holidays - by following some simple
energy efficiency and safety tips, customers can benefit from a more
environmentally friendly, safe and cost-effective way to save money this holiday
Save Big on Lighting
Over the past few years, new
lighting alternatives have become available that may cost more initially, but
cost much less to maintain and operate. Energy-efficient miniature or
light-emitting diode (LED) lights use considerably less energy than traditional
lighting technology. The list below provides customers with the potential costs
associated with each type of lighting.
- Traditional Lights -- These lights use about five
watts per bulb. A typical residential customer with a rate of 15 cents per
kWh will pay $33.75 a month to operate 10 strings of 25-bulb traditional
bulbs for six hours per day.
- Miniature Lights -- The average miniature light
uses 0.5 watts per bulb. Operating 10 strings of the bulbs, at 100-bulbs
per string for the same six hours, will cost the typical residential
customer $13.50 per month.
- Icicle Lights -- Icicle lights use the same amount of energy per
miniature bulb as miniature light strands, but a string of icicle lights
with 100 bulbs will cover a much shorter distance than a straight string
of miniature lights. Adding additional strands of lights will increase the
typical residential customer's electricity usage.
- LED Lights -- LED lights use only 0.05 watts per bulb, or 1/10 the
amount of miniature bulbs. Due to their solid-state construction, these
bulbs are safer and more durable. Ten sets of 100 of these LED bulbs will
cost the typical residential customer $1.35 per month to operate.
Regardless of the lights you choose,
additional energy and cost can be saved by turning lights off and unplugging
before going to bed or installing an automatic timer that can reduce power
usage by turning the lights on at dusk and turning them off at a desired time.
Also, consider using fewer lights and more decorations that do not use energy -
such as wreaths or poinsettias.
Additional Energy Saving Tips
- Yard Inflatables - Yard inflatables range from
simple blow-up cartoon characters to 8-foot-tall globes with rotating
figures, blowing snow and lights. Large globes consume about 150 watts per
hour, while rotating carousels consume around 200 watts. At 10 hours per
day, the total cost of electricity could be $10 per inflatable, per month.
- Holiday Cooking -- Using the smallest appliance for the job while
cooking during the holidays will always save energy. For example,
microwave ovens use less than half the energy required by a conventional
oven. Use the smallest pan and burner needed for the job. Cook with
lids on your pans. For example, cooking pasta without a lid on the pot can
use three times as much energy.
- Smart Baking -- To improve oven efficiency, keep the doors
closed as much as possible and bake several dishes at the same time and
temperature. Every time the door is opened, heat escapes.
- Storing the Feast -- Keep extra beverages and
holiday leftovers cold by storing them in your garage or on the porch if
temperatures permit. Unplugging that second refrigerator saves $23
per month on the electricity bill. Also, defrosting frozen food in the
refrigerator helps keep the refrigerator cold.
- Avoid Overhead Lines -- Overhead power lines are not insulated and carry enough
energy to cause serious injury or even death. Never use an aluminum
ladder within 10 feet of power lines, and keep yourself and holiday
decorations at least 10 feet away from residential electric lines and
- Approved Lighting -- Make sure your lights have a
safety listing from a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as
the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). A safety approval seal means the
lights have been tested and are safe to use. Use lights only as
intended. Always unplug your lights before going to bed or leaving home.
- Outdoor Connections -- Plug outdoor lights into
ground fault circuit interrupters, which are available at hardware and
electrical supply stores. If there is an electrical fault with a
light string, GFCIs will automatically shut off the electricity well
before any electric shock could occur. Also, cover outdoor plugs and
connector joints with a water-resistant layer of plastic wrap and
- Christmas Trees -- If you have an artificial tree, make sure it's been
tested for flammability by the Underwriters Laboratories. To prevent
electrical shock, never use electric decorations on artificial trees with
metallic needles, leaves or branches. Instead, place colored
spotlights above or beside the tree - never attached to it. Keep your
natural tree well watered to prevent bulbs from igniting dry branches. Keep
extension cords and light sets away from the tree stand.
- Don't Overload -- Don't overload your electric circuits.
Check your fuse or breaker panel to see how much your home can handle and
stay well within limits.
- Avoid Shock -- Make sure there's a bulb in each socket.
If a bulb has burned out, leave it in until you have a replacement.
also encourages residential customers to take advantage of rebates available on
high efficiency gas heating equipment, including furnaces, boilers, water
heaters and programmable thermostats. Rebates vary depending on the type and
efficiency level of the equipment. For more information, call toll free 866-716-8099, or visit us
online at www.powerofaction.com.
also want to consider getting rid their old, second refrigerator or freezer by
participating in National Grid's refrigerator/freezer recycling program.
Chances are that old, extra fridge could be costing up to $150 a year to run.
Instead, recycle it, reduce your energy bills, and keep harmful materials out
of landfills. We'll pick it up for free and send you a $30 rebate. Contact us
toll free, at 877-691-0021,
or on the Web at www.powerofaction.com.
has a 20-year track record of partnering with its customers to provide
successful, award-winning efficiency programs in its U.S. service territory.
These programs have helped save customers nearly 565 million therms of natural
gas, representing approximately $876 million in savings on their heating bills.
To find out more about the energy efficiency programs in your area, including
details of potential incentives and forms for installing additional energy
efficiency measures, visit National Grid's energy efficiency website at www.powerofaction.com.