Niagara Gazette

December 10, 2012

Savings, safety stressed with these holiday energy tips

Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — As residents string up their Christmas lights — and some try to outdo Clark Griswold from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" — National Grid offers a few tips to keep people safe and save a few bucks, too.

By following a few simple tips customers can benefit from a more environmentally friendly, safe and cost-effective way to light up the holiday season.

According to National Grid, one of the best solutions for holiday decorating needs is using LED lighting. The energy-efficient miniature or light-emitting diode (LED) lights use 90 percent less energy than traditional lights which results in significant savings.

“The cost of LED lights is more than traditional lights, but the benefits truly outweigh that,” said National Grid's Edward White, vice president, Customer and Business Strategy. “By using more advanced, energy efficient lighting solutions like LEDs for holiday decorating, customers will start saving on electricity immediately."

White added that people who use LED lights will save on future lighting purchases because LED lights are much more durable and last years longer than traditional lights.

Traditional lighting offers around1,500 hours of light and can fade or flake over time. That doesn't happen with LEDs because they have epoxy lenses that make them almost indestructible so they last much longer, providing up to 100,000 hours of light.

In addition, LED’s are much safer to use because unlike traditional lights that can get hot and pose a fire hazard, LED light bulbs always stay cool.

Additional tips to save energy and stay safe this holiday season:

• Limit the time that lights are on. Wait until dark to turn on your holiday lights; then, turn them off before you go to bed. Six hours or less of daily use is a good goal.

• Turn off room lights when the tree is lit. The lights on a holiday tree should provide more than enough lighting to navigate around the room.

• 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.

• While reading labels, be sure to buy the right set for indoor use, outdoor use, or both.

• Before decorating, check all light sets for frayed wires, damaged sockets, or cracked insulation. If any defects are found, replace the entire set.

• All outdoor cords, plugs and sockets must be weatherproof. Keep electrical connections off the ground, and make sure wiring is kept clear of drainpipes and railings to prevent any risk of shock. It's also a good idea to use a ground fault circuit interrupter on each circuit. If current leaks through frayed or damaged wires, the interrupter will shut off the lights.

• Don't overload electrical circuits. Circuits in older homes carry a maximum of 1800 watts each while many newer homes can handle 2400 watts.