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Here's how you can brighten your house with holiday lights without hurting your electricity bill

Posted at 3:51 PM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 23:34:15-05

MILWAUKEE — Now that Thanksgiving is behind us we have reached the dazzling time of the year when lights are aglow. With that in mind, there are some money-saving tips to help trim the tree here in Wisconsin.

You could call Mark Howe a modernized, musical Clark Griswold, "Hopefully I won't make my neighbors too mad."

Howe started planning his synchronized symphony of sound and sights on December 26th of last year, "They were like 'startin' kinda early aren't ya?' Nooo."

This is his first year creating the decorative display "Miracle on 51st Street" in Brown Deer, "I enjoy doing something like this, its kind of my way of giving back to the community." Howe says.

And while he hopes his sequenced show will raise money for the Wounded Warriors, Howe doesn't want to spend too much money on his electricity bill... We Energies wants to be your little holiday helper for that.

"Use LED lights rather than incandescent lights, so that's going to save you a lot of money over the long term, they actually last a lot longer too," We Energies Spokesperson, Alison Trouy suggests.

According to the We Energies holiday cost calculator: running ten strings of LED lights for 8 hours from now through New Years Day would cost $2.16. Ten strings of incandescent lights would cost $156. Running two spinning spotlights through the end of the month will cost $9.36 and two eight-foot inflatables will cost you an extra $4.52 on the energy bill.

Trouy has one tip to help cut down the inflatable cost, "One important tip to think about: A lot of inflatables actually have a light bulb inside so when you get that, change that right away to led rather than incandescent."

Not many people know more about holiday lightning than Paul Hayden at Reinders, in addition to switching to LEDs, Hayden suggests using a timer to keep the yuletide cheer in check.

"If you have your timer at your outlet, that will cut off power to everything that you have plugged into that timer."

But some timers do better than others in our chilly Wisconsin winters Hayden adds, "We're usually a fan of the straight mechanical ones, the ones with those little pins that you have to put in the right places because around here when it gets so cold, the LCDs will freeze a little bit on them and then you can't tell exactly what's going on."

Trouy agrees with the timer tip, "That way you're ensuring that the lights aren't on all night when nobody can enjoy them."

LEDs have come quite a way, Paul Hayden explains:

How to light up your holiday display at an affordable cost