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LED Alternatives Offer Efficient Holiday Lighting

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As this year’s holiday celebrants dig out some of the the same old holiday lights they’ve been using for years, Donna Coffin, UMaine Cooperative Extension educator in the Piscataquis County office, advises there are many new LED lighting options available to both reflect the holiday spirit and reduce electric bills in the process.

LED (light-emitting diode) lights can offer just as much twinkle and enjoyment at a fraction of the cost of older decorative lights. Coffin says LED lights can reduce the cost of electricity for holiday decorations by as much as 98 percent.

Consider, she says, that the cost of using a 500-foot string of older C7-type holiday lights for six hours a day for 40 days (240 hours) is $134.  C7 lights are the old large light strings that get hot. People who have switched to mini-lights or twinkle lights, spend about $35 per season. Newer LED holiday lights, on the other hand, cost even less to run: less than $3 for the whole season — or 2 percent of the cost of the old C7 lights.

In addition, LED lights are virtually indestructible, last longer than standard holiday lights, reduce the risk of fire and stay lit if a single light goes out, Coffin says. With no filament or glass bulb in LED lights, they convert electricity directly to light without the heat.

Coffin can be reached at 207-564-3301 or 1-800-287-1491 in Maine, or by email to donna.coffin@maine.edu. For more ideas on home energy conservation, visit the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Energy website at http://extension.umaine.edu/energy/.

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