LED Christmas lights becoming more common

If you regularly find that your December electricity bill is significantly more expensive than it is during other winter months, your Christmas decorations may be the problem. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the amount of energy used during the holiday season is equal to adding 500,000 new homes around the country.

The lights on your house and Christmas tree that stay on for hours at a time can negate any previous efforts that you may have made to improve your home's energy efficiency. One solution that will save the environment and your wallet is to use LED bulbs.

Unlike other types of lights, holiday bulbs have been exempt from the federal law that requires the production of incandescent bulbs be phased out and replaced with more energy-efficient alternatives. Because of this exception bulb manufacturers have been slow to produce LED Christmas lights, and those that were available were expensive.

In recent years, however, production has increased and prices have fallen dramatically. Strings of LED holiday lights are close in cost to the traditional variety and have the advantage of lasting much longer. Over the course of a few years, consumers will find that LED Christmas lights can pay for themselves.

According to the Kansas City Star, many major retailers have begun to offer multiple LED options. Wal-Mart is devoting half of its Christmas light shelf space to LEDs, while Home Depot is offering discounts on the products for anyone who brings in an old string of incandescent bulbs.

If you're planing on making improvements to your home's energy efficiency beyond just switching out Christmas lights, be sure to contact a home inspection company before enacting any major changes.