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Holiday Lighting

LED vs. Incandescent: Which is Best for Holiday Lighting?

"LED vs. Incandescent": Which is Best for Holiday Lighting" title overlayed on blurred out holiday lights. 

LED vs. incandescent… which is best? Which is safest? Most efficient? What do they cost? To find out which is best for you and your home this holiday season, read on to weigh the pros and cons of each type of light.

Rapid-fire benefits of LED lighting:
  • Long-lasting – up to 100,000 hours of light, enough to last you many holiday seasons.
  • Energy-efficient – save money this season. Incandescent bulbs run at 20% efficiency, whereas LEDs work at 80-90% efficiency, meaning more lighting power and less utility expenses.
  • Ecologically-friendly – LEDs aren’t made with toxic chemicals like the mercury found in fluorescents. Additionally, the long lifespan of these bulbs means one LED light can save the production of roughly 25 incandescent bulbs!
Sounds pretty good, right? Here are 3 questions to ask yourself before you decide to make the jump from incandescent to LED:
What condition are my incandescent lights in?
LED lights are not the kind of purchase you make on a whim. The lights are expensive! If you need to replace your lighting anyways, then LED lights may be a good option, but you’ll need to assess the condition of your current set before you can make this call.
The first thing to do is make sure they’re all in working order. Check the strand for any cracks, punctures, or other signs of damage. If everything seems to be in order, plug them in. If they don’t all turn on right away, then look for broken or missing bulbs. Replace these and see if the problem is solved – if not, it may be time to opt for a new set.
You can also assess the condition of your lights based on ownership time alone. Most sets typically last between 4-6 years. If you have been using the same lights since you were a kid, it’s time to upgrade.
Fortunately, many home improvement stores will offer a discount on a new strand of LED lights so long as you turn in your old incandescent.
How long will I use my lights?
If you’re planning to use your lights for a long time, LED lights are the way to go. If you are planning to move to a smaller or larger property anytime soon, you might be better off delaying the upgrade – buying a whole new set of LEDs to accommodate the size of your new place won’t be a very pleasant experience if you just upgraded the previous year. It’s not so bad if you bought a new $5 strand of incandescent lights, but a $100 strand of LEDs might not be so easily accepted. Go the cheaper route until you know you’re settling in for awhile!
House at night with lights along roofline
Will I save money investing in LEDs?
LEDs are exponentially more expensive up front, but they can save you money in the long run. If you put up a Clark Griswold-esque holiday display, the savings you’ll experience from buying LED will be massive.
Additionally, LEDs can save you money on blown fuses and electrical repairs. They may also be safer in the same regard. Incandescent bulbs can only string 2-5 strands together before you risk blowing a fuse. Many homes have very few outdoor outlets so you’ll need to strategize decoration about this scarcity. LEDs use 10x less energy, meaning you can string 20-50 to a single outlet in the right circumstances. This could save money and disaster by keeping your outlets in good working order, without compromising on the wow-factor you want from your holiday lighting.
We hope this information helps you make the best choice for your home holiday season. For more holiday decorating insight, browse our site or call with questions!

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