Should I switch to LED Christmas Lights? How long will LED Christmas lights last?

Posted by on 4/19/2016 to All About Christmas Lights
Should I switch to LED Christmas Lights? How long will LED Christmas lights last?

LED lights are everywhere, from Christmas lights to your standard household bulbs.  Manufactures and power companies across the country are hailing their qualities making you think they are the only options out there when it comes to lighting anything.  But what our customers always want to know is should they switch to LED Christmas lights, what will be their cost savings and how long will their LED Christmas lights last?

LED Christmas lights are a great new product on the market, they use about 9 watts of power for a standard 100 light mini light strand versus 50 watts for standard incandescent mini lights, that is a savings of 82% in power consumption.  The colors are very vibrant, the plastic outer cover means even your 3 year old can help you drag out your Christmas lights and you can drop them from that ladder all you want without damaging the lights.  Or like one of our customers tried, you can even run over the LED mini lights with your car and the bulbs still worked for him (we do not recommend you go to such lengths to test these lights!).  They are a great light and we love them for our own commercial decorating business.  But does that mean they are always the right product for the job? The simple answer is no, they are not for everyone. 

Before you invest the time and money to switch to LED lighting you need to weigh the costs vs. savings and benefits carefully and understand what they can do and what they can not.  The power companies claims that they will last 10-20 years are not time tested and while LED diodes can last a long, LONG time, the other components of Christmas Lights, like rectifiers and wiring will affect how long they will actually last.  In this multi-part blog on LED Christmas lights we will highlight the benefits of switching to LED Christmas Lights, Calculating the power savings, and the downside of switching to LED Christmas Lights vs. standard incandescent lighting.

Here is why we use them so frequently in our own businesses -

Our sister company, Christmas Light Decorators is one of the largest holiday decorators in the Southwest.  They decorate for cities, shopping centers and communities all over the State of Arizona.  They have been decorating since 1989 and know Christmas lights.  They use LED lights on a large scale, millions of lights each year go up and mostly they use LED lights.  Their reasons may be different from yours but here are the main reasons they choose LED lights:

Power consumption They can plug 200 strands of mini lights into a standard 120v 15AMP outlet (we usually only do up to 100 strands of LED back to back), vs. 36 standard Incandescent light strands (which you can only plug up to 4 end to end).  That is a huge difference when you are putting up lights on city streets or at shopping centers. Being able to plug into one outlet means not running multiple power cords just to reach new outlets. 

Durability  Installers can spend more time installing and less time protecting bulbs as they wrap trees or light up roof lines. With incandescent bulbs the possibility of breaking the glass is always a factor in how fast they can work and how they can store products at the end of each season.  We also had one harsh winter here in Arizona where we had a heavy hail storm that broke many customers C7 or C9 lights on roof lines where incandescent lights were used.  Customers who used LED had no issues whatsoever.

Maintenance through the season Christmas Light Decorators installs, maintains and removes customers lights at the end of the season, LED lights are pretty reliable and we have only had about a 2.5% failure rate on our LED lights within the first year.  The less we have to go out and service lights the better. 

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