Homeowners use energy-efficient bulbs to light up holiday season

The holiday season is a time for families to revive traditions that they engage in every year. But this year, many homeowners are spurring traditional incandescent lights as they illuminate the exteriors of their homes.

Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, like similarly energy-efficient CFL bulbs, cost more than incandescent light bulbs at initial purchase, but homeowners can realize significant cost savings over the lifetime of the bulbs. They last much longer than incandescent bulbs, use less energy, are less likely to break or emit excessive heat and can be strung together in greater numbers without fear of a short circuit.

For homeowers who do not want to sacrifice the unique color of incandescent lights, or who see replacing all of their bulbs with LED bulbs at once as wasteful, a gradual phaseout of old bulbs may be the ideal solution. These bulbs can simply be replaced with energy-efficient bulbs when they break or burn out.

"LED lights are really bright, in some ways they are almost too bright, but I think they show up well and the colors are rich," Texas homeowner Celeste Long, who is using both incandescent and LED bulbs this year, told The Houston Chronicle. "They do really make it bright. The regular white lights, it's a very different color from the LED lights."

Over the course of 40 days, if a tree is illuminated for 12 hours per day, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that energy costs will be $6.03 for 300 incandescent bulbs, compared with $0.56 for 280 LED bulbs. By purchasing LED bulbs, homeowners may even be able to light up more of their property, and for a greater duration of the day, than they have in the past. If energy bills won't be as high, then what is the downside in doing so?