Last updated on 8 December 2020
You would think that the fairy light tradition couldn’t come at a worst time of the year: the darkest month, when the demand for electricity surges to light our homes and run our heaters.
So, to do your bit for the environment or to keep your energy bill down, should you deny yourself this simple pleasure at home? Not according to the figures. And, after all, our brain needs light to keep us in the right frame of mind through the winter months.
Just do the sums, based on the power indicated on the label of your fairy lights.
Let's take the example of 25 metres of indoor fairy lights with 360 warm white mini-LEDs. The manufacturer states power of 6 W or 0.006 kW.
|• As the average electricity price is € 0.25/kWh, this amounts to 1.008 x € 0.25/kWh = € 0.252|
So no guilt trip and nothing to weigh on your year-end budget! And that's a maximum, because when the lights flash or are in light show mode, they go out and therefore consume less energy.
For a string of large bulbs, such as outdoor festoon lights, the power is higher, even with LED lights: with 25 lamps of 7 W each distributed over 10 m of cable, that's 175 W.
|Under the same conditions as before, the lights will therefore consume 29.4 kWh and cost € 7.35|
It’s still affordable, but if you put up several strings, the costs can mount very quickly. Note that there are strings of lights with a built-in photovoltaic charger, which brings consumption down to zero!
Some fairy lights come with a built-in timer. You can also connect a single string of fairy lights to an outlet equipped with a timer.
Don't give in to the temptation of going all out with 7 strings of Christmas illuminations on the pretext that LED fairy lights consume 7 times less.
If the fairy lights are connected to a 230 V/low voltage transformer, don’t just switch off the fairy lights at any switch: unplug the transformer from the socket.
Outdoors, opt for festoon lights with a built-in photovoltaic charger: even the dim winter light will be enough to keep the lights twinkling all evening.
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