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LED Christmas Lights – Just How Green Are They?

When electricity was “cheap”, Christmas lighting had two main applications. The 7 watt C7 bulb (night light size) was used for indoor applications and the 9-10 watt C9 bulb was used for outdoor gutters and trees. There were miniature strings, but many strayed from them due to the fact that when a light bulb burned out, the whole was turned off. There are still many bad memories retelling of the frustrations incurred in trying to find the only light bulb that had burned out.
The 1980s arrived and the introduction of the new 5-watt C7 and 7-watt C9. This meant substantial energy savings, but of course the bulbs were dimmer. By then, miniature string sets had a bypass device installed that kept the string turned on even when individual bulbs burned out. They were nice improvements, but nothing too revolutionary. The bulbs were rated for 1,000 to 3,000 hours of operation. A decade later, the miniatures took a big step forward with a LED Christmas Lights set that stayed on even if a bulb popped out of the socket. These miniature strings were sold under the trademarks Stay-lit, Ever-lit, Ever-on, Dura-lit …
These lights still required annual maintenance and relatively frequent changes. Also, color fading remained a major problem. In one year, the blue setting often turned into a clear setting due to the setting sun. According to eLightBulbs customers, there is a higher percentage of chance that the customer will simply buy and pull strings in commercial applications than doing time-consuming maintenance. According to marketing campaigns since about 2005, the introduction of the LED Holiday Lighting product has solved all concerns. LED Christmas lighting has now been introduced in various styles. The strings that replace the traditional miniature are called M5 strings (5mm diameter mini bulbs). A slightly larger strawberry-shaped mini rope called the C6 has proven just as popular. Other miniature styles include “tapered” and “raspberry.” There are also two styles of LED bulbs adapted to replace traditional lights. These would be the C7 and C9 faceted threaded base bulbs.
You may ask “What’s so great about LED Christmas lighting?” They are superior in several ways. These bulbs run on about 10% of the energy drain of the incandescent they replace! A typical miniature set that ran on 18 watts now runs on around 2 watts without sacrificing light output. Additionally, the lifespan of LED bulbs ranges from 50,000 to 100,000 hours of operation compared to the incandescent rating of 1,000 to 3,000 hours. The use of faceted plastic covers has also solved the problem of discoloration while adding a crystalline / non-dazzling visual effect.
Typically LED strings cost 3-5 times more than the incandescent string they are replacing. However, the return on investment is exponential. You save by replacing the set and / or the bulb up to 50 times more and you save approximately 90% in your energy consumption. Don’t forget that there will be no more replacement due to fading. With these fantastic benefits, it would seem reasonable to always go with LEDs when installing your annual holiday lights. I agree that LEDs are the way to go. However, perhaps not always. I have a specific warning that has not appeared in any marketing material that I know of. Ask yourself, “What about the cable?” If your lights are used indoors, you shouldn’t have a problem. Outdoors, however, is another story. While the bulbs are rated for years and years of use, weather, squirrels, and ultraviolet rays can seriously affect the integrity of the wire in just one year if the assembly is omitted for the entire year. Vandalism could also reduce investment savings.
ELightBulbs procurement staff has raised this concern with manufacturers. Since the LED party lighting industry is still relatively new, we have yet to see the long-term effect of outdoor use. We are always looking for the newest and highest quality lighting. As this great new LED lighting industry expands, you can trust eLightBulbs to be at the forefront of new technology. But we will also insist on full disclosure so that you can make a real evaluation.