If you’re the sort for whom the holidays don’t really start until you’ve strung several hundred (or hundred thousand) lights, then you’re probably gearing up for the annual ritual of taking stock. Some bulbs, or even entire strands, will inevitably need replacing, which gives you the opportunity to think about which sort of lights are best for your holiday decorations.
LEDs, short for light-emitting diodes, are bulbs that use a semiconductor to generate light more efficiently than traditional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. What are the advantages of all that efficiency? Try these on for size:
- According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED bulbs can last up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs. That can amount to a whopping 25,000 hours of life.
- An Energy Star rated string of decorative LED lights is much easier on your electric bill, consuming up to 50 percent less energy than a string with incandescent bulbs.
- LED lights can be a much safer alternative, particularly in household with children. They generate much less heat than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, and present a significantly lower fire hazard than other types of outdoor bulb.
- A recent Department of Energy report shows that LED bulbs have a much smaller environmental impact than incandescent bulbs. That’s due in part to the absence of mercury in the bulbs, which makes them easier to dispose of with less risk of contamination.
So go ahead and pull out those green plastic strands. Assess the wear and tear from last year, the number of missing or burned-out bulbs. If you decide it’s time to replace a few (or a few dozen) strands, then it’s time to consider upgrading to a better bulb.