Duke offers holiday lighting energy calculator and tips
Before decking the halls and transforming your home into a festival of lights, calculate how that twinkling holiday display will affect your winter energy bills.
"Lighting displays are part of the timeless holiday decorating tradition," Duke Energy senior vice president of customer services Gayle Lanier noted. "However, elaborate lighting displays can add significant costs to your energy bill. Estimate your energy costs before decorating and incorporate efficient, budget-friendly lighting options to save money during the holiday season."
Customers can estimate lighting costs using the holiday lighting energy calculator on Duke Energy's website, www.duke-energy.com/lightscalculator.
Users can identify the type of lights, the number of 100-bulb strands and how many hours the lights will be used per day to estimate the energy cost per day and per month. Based on selections, you can receive energy-efficient tips and options.
For example, six 100-bulb sets of large, incandescent bulbs (600 bulbs total) plugged in six hours every evening can add as much as $80 to a monthly bill.
By comparison, six 100-bulb sets of similarly styled light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs would increase a monthly power bill by only about $7. Using six 100-bulb sets of mini-LED bulbs would increase a monthly power bill by only $1.
Duke Energy is also offering tips for customers to help reduce their winter heating bills.
"The thermostat can be the biggest contributor of high winter bills," Lanier said "We encourage customers to select the lowest comfortable setting when they're home, then lower the temperature a degree or two when they leave."
Other money-saving tips include:
* Change air filters regularly. A dirty air filter makes a heating system work harder, which uses more energy.
* Inefficient heating can also add to monthly power bills during colder temperatures. Regular service calls from a licensed technician will help to properly maintain your heating and cooling system.
* The ceiling fan is a great way to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Simply set the fans to operate in a clockwise direction, which pushes warm air back down into the room.
* On sunny days, leave your drapes or blinds open to allow the sun's rays to warm the house.
Safety tips offered by Duke include:
* Before installing lights, check each set -- new and old -- for damaged sockets, loose connections and frayed or bare wires. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.
* Never use more than three standard-sized sets of lights per extension cord.
* Plug exterior lights into ground-fault interruptible (GFI) outlets only. If the home lacks outside GFI outlets, call an electrician to install them.
* Before climbing a ladder, inspect it to ensure it's in good working condition and follow the weight limits specified on the ladder. Ladders that lean against a wall or other support should be angled so the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is about one-quarter the working length of the ladder. Never use a ladder for any purpose other than the one for which it's designed.
* Never use a ladder on or near power lines.
For more tips and information on how to save energy and money visit www.duke-energy.com.