Save money and energy while decking the halls with these tips from Xcel

Staff Report
Steamboat Pilot & Today
Holiday lights twinkle in Breckenridge’s Blue River Plaza on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019.
Liz Copan/Summit Daily News archive

Xcel Energy is encouraging people to save money this holiday season by following safety tips and watching energy costs for different lights and holiday decorations.

According to Xcel, most people use multiple strands of holiday lights for up to two months during this time of year, which presents an opportunity for savings.

Depending on the type and number of lights used, Xcel customers can typically save between $1 and $100 based on Colorado electric rates. Customers using a strand of 100 LED mini-lights for five hours a day will save more than 80 cents a month per strand, when compared to a strand of incandescent bulbs.

Similarly, one strand of 25 LED standard C7 lights can save about $2.50 per month, while one strand of 25 LED standard C9 lights can save more than $3.50 per month. These savings can vary depending on the manufacturer.

Customers can also save on their bills by turning on their lights during Xcel’s off-peak periods. On non-holiday weekdays, on-peak pricing is from 3-7 p.m. with off-peak pricing starting at 7 p.m. During weekends and holidays, all hours follow off-peak pricing.

Xcel also urges customers to practice safety when decorating:

  • Use Underwriters Laboratory-approved lights and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for indoor and outdoor lighting.
  • Before placing holiday lights outside on homes or trees, look up to locate any overhead power lines, then keep all objects such as ladders, and extension poles more than 10 feet away. Never toss lights near or across an overhead power line.
  • Check the cords on strings of lights and replace any that are frayed or worn. Discard all that are in poor condition. Also, check for loose connections and damaged plugs or light sockets.
  • Plug in lights before stringing them to determine whether any bulbs are burned out.
  • Keep lights away from metal railings and banisters, which can become energized if the wire has a short circuit. Avoid stringing lights along aluminum siding, which can conduct electricity. Never use lights on metallic trees.
  • Make sure rooftop decorations don’t block vents or vent pipes.
  • Keep lights away from combustible materials, including draperies.
  • Avoid attaching too many light strings together and plugging them into one outlet. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for recommended maximum number of strings per outlet.

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