Manage Electricity Costs During the Holidays


What you don't know CAN hurt you

I’m so sick and tired about hearing about “the state of the economy”.  It’s starting to become a cliché in just about every budget advice column.  I really hate to use it, but here goes…

Given the state of the economy (I hate saying that), everyone is covering their cookie jars and hoarding every nickel.  Not only are people looking for thrifty gifts, but they are cutting back on certain luxuries.  There are certain ways to gauge or measure how much of your budget you’re actually using, like using cash instead of debit cards.  When you don’t actually see your resources going out then it becomes easy to take it for granted.

The same holds true with electricity, which are a bit like icebergs: it’s what you DON’T see that can kill you.  Most people have no idea exactly how much electricity they use, even when the monthly bill comes.  People just know if it “seems high” over previous months, because there’s no “ran computer for 96 hours” line item on the bill.  This article will show you how to take control, measure, and curb the average family’s additional electricity spending during the holidays.

Incandescent Lighting is Evil

This goes without saying, so I’ll just get this out of the way first.  If you only take away one thing from this article, remember this: Incandescent lighting is one of the most inefficient uses of electricity.

Incandescent lighting is basically any light source produced by electricity passing through a filament, which heats up to hundreds of degrees, producing bright light.  It’s easy to buy incandescent holiday lights this time of year, because unless the box of Christmas lights specifically says “LED” on them, then they use the same technology that’s been around since the 19th century.

There are times when you can’t use fluorescent or LED bulbs, like in a dimmer.  These bulbs will either not turn on, flicker, or could even be damaged by an analog dimmer. Most people will not have holiday lights on a dimmer, but this is just something to keep in mind if you’re on an aggressive household energy-saving campaign.

When it comes to incandescents, the brighter the bulb is generally translates into more energy usage.  Regular light bulbs tell you exactly how much electricity they’ll consume… a 100W light bulb will consume about 100 Watts every hour.  From this, you can easily calculate the electricity usage during a month by doing some simple math.

On the next page we provide the tools on how to measure holiday lights…