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Can I Leave My Christmas Lights on At Night?

by Denver Plumbing, HVAC, $ Electrical Company

Christmas is one of the best times of the year for neighborhood strolls and evening drives. With houses strung with twinkling lights, the holiday ambience is enough to put anyone in the mood.

Lights are most visible at night, which causes many North Americans to leave the lights blinking well into the wee hours. While it might seem like a festive treat for the neighbors, it could lead to problems for your home and electricity over time.

Before leaving lights on, check the label to determine whether the bulbs and wattage can handle a long night of illumination. Generally, we recommend turning them off before bed.

At Bell Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, & Electrical we know all about the dangers of leaving the lights on. Here’s what you should know about your Christmas lights this year.

The Potential Dangers of Unattended Lighting

Christmas is meant to be a joyful time of year, so we hope you follow safe lighting practices and turn them off at night.

Leaving your lights on overnight has a myriad of potential risks attached to it, including:

  • Short-circuiting – There is nothing “holly jolly” about losing power for Christmas. Depending on how new your lights are, and how many hours you run them each day, there is a risk that something could go wrong electrically. While the chance for short-circuiting is slim with newer light strings, you reduce the risk of blowing a fuse by turning your lights off when they can’t be monitored – like at bedtime.
  • Overheating – While LED bulbs don’t get hot the same way other lights do, there is still a chance that something could go wrong after you hit the hay. Peace of mind is priceless, and you’ll have a better night’s sleep knowing your lights are safely off and won’t be causing any fire hazards.
  • High power bills – Leaving the lights on overnight, every night for the month of December is costly. Some homeowners start lighting their homes at the end of November and extend into January to ring in the new year with style. By turning off your lights at night, you save power and waste less energy.

You can still enjoy your outdoor lights well into the evening. We just recommend flipping the switch at bedtime, to ensure nothing is left unattended.

Solutions to Overnight Lighting

For some Denver homeowners, nighttime lights are the best part of the holiday season. If you want your neighbors to enjoy your lights later than bedtime, or if you’ll be out of town but still want to illuminate your home, you can set your Christmas lights on a timer.

Timer systems are great for many reasons. They let you:

  • Schedule lighting to hours of darkness when lights are most visible
  • Turn off lights late at night even if you’ve gone to bed
  • Turn lights on if you’re not home to do it
  • Save electricity and time

Light timers can be customized based on your preferences. Whether you want to set your lights for 4 hours, 8 hours, or 12 hours, you can time when they go on and when they go off with ease.

For Christmas lights, there’s an ongoing debate as to whether it’s more expensive to leave them on or turn them off. The truth is, it depends on many factors, including how often you turn them off. We recommend leaving lights on for approximately 4-6 hours each evening rather than flicking them on and off throughout the day.

Finding the Safest Christmas Lights for My Home

As you look for Christmas lights this year, be sure to check the boxes to see whether they are indoor or outdoor lights, and what their wattage is.

Choose new lights if your current strings are more than 5-years old or damaged. Like all electrical devices, lights have a shelf life. Old Christmas lights might be nostalgic, or faithful in their annual illumination, but they also have a higher risk of short-circuiting and causing electrical issues for your home.

It isn’t wise to use indoor lights outside, as they aren’t designed to withstand the cold icy temperatures of winter. They also may not be sufficiently weather-sealed, which could lead to electrocution during damp weather.

Similarly, it’s better to use indoor lights on your Christmas tree and inside decorating, as outdoor lights are normally more intense in brightness and heavier. You don’t want to weigh your tree branches down with outdoor lights and ruin the aesthetic of your decorations.

Contact Bell Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, & Electrical to Learn More

Bell Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, & Electrical serves customers across the Denver metro area. Interested in learning more about Bell Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, & Electrical and the services we offer? We invite you to reach out to us today!

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