Saving energy on holiday lighting

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Thanksgiving is behind us and the scurry of holiday preparations is in full swing. For some, the tradition of setting up outdoor light displays is a big part of the holiday experience. With the new LED lights and some tips from the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save energy and money on your holiday decorating.

Those old incandescent holiday lights you have been putting up forever are terribly inefficient and, despite careful storage, often emerge only halfway lit with many being tossed in landfills. Instead, save a bundle by replacing them with Energy Star qualified LED light strands. In addition to using 70 percent less energy than traditional bulbs, they are brighter, eco-friendly and are safer as they are much cooler than incandescent lights.

In addition, they are easier to install — up to 24 strings of LEDs can be connected end-to-end without overloading a wall socket. They last 10 times longer, have no filaments or glass to break and costs are similar to the age-old standard. If you prefer white lights with the look of incandescent lights, look for “warm” white on the label.

Savvy shopping will save you money. You might find local rebates and coupons on Energy Star qualified decorative light strings at local hardware stores. In addition, these lights have a three-year warranty, come in a variety of colors and have indoor and outdoor models.

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