Ask The Energy Expert: LEDs

By Patti Corbeil, NHEC

Each month, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) offers you the chance to Ask the Energy Expert. Got a question about energy efficiency or renewable energy? Send your question to and get answers from the Co-op Energy Solutions team.

This month’s Energy Expert is Patti Corbeil. Patti is the ENERGY STAR Lighting Program Administrator at NHEC.

Q: Are LED holiday lights worth the investment?

A: Yes, for a number of reasons.

First, and most importantly, they’re safer. The typical strand of incandescent holiday lights gives off most of its energy in the form of heat. LED lights produce very little heat, virtually eliminating the risk of fire.

Second, LED holiday lights are much more energy efficient, using up to 90% less energy than incandescents. A typical incandescent strand with 50 mini bulbs uses 25 watts, while an equivalent LED strand uses between two and four watts.

If you have ten strands of 50 lights each and leave them on for six hours a day for the entire month of December, you would save about 30 kilowatt hours of electricity by switching to LEDs. At current rates, that’s about $5 per season – not a lot, but enough to pay for the more efficient lights in two to three years. Also, consider that LED holiday lights last 10 times as long as incandescents. You may never need to replace your holiday lights again!

One other big advantage of LED holiday lights is durability. Unlike traditional incandescents, LED lights do not contain fragile filaments that can be easily broken. And best of all – if one LED bulb on a strand of 50 burns out, it won’t burn out the whole string!

So yes, LED holiday lights cost a little more up front, but they more than make up for it with their safer operation, energy efficiency, and long life.

Happy Holidays!