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Christmas Lights How-To: the safe and low-cost way


POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - During the holidays, we don't just see a spike in our energy bill: Accidents increase significantly, putting a bummer on the holiday spirit.

If you're looking to save some cash this Christmas, Idaho Power said you don't have to skimp on the lights.

“We don’t want people to think they have to be a scrooge in order to light their homes,” said Dave Spillett with Idaho Power.

Tip 1: Consider LED lights

“If you’ve got some older ones, or if they’re so wound up and tangled you don’t want to mess with them, it’s a great time to switch over to LEDs,” Spillett said.

LED lights use 75 percent less energy than conventional incandescent lights, which can save you money.

Tip 2: Pair a timer to your display

“That not only increases safety, it allows you to save energy so your Christmas lights aren’t on when they don’t need to be and your outdoor lights aren’t on when they don’t need to be,” Spillet said.

Tip 3: Try yard inflatables

“The big inflatables that people put out in their yards: extremely efficient,” Spillet said.

A small yard inflatable costs less than $1 to operate for 18 hours a day for 40 days. Most of them use LED lights and are more efficient than your traditional incandescent lights, according to Idaho Power.

Tip 4: Protect your power source

Use surge protectors to protect against voltage spikes.

Double check your extension chords for damage before you use them.

“Don’t put those in places where they could get damaged, walked on, driven on, make sure they’re protected,” Spillett said.

Tip 5: Don't fall off the ladder

Your Griswold-inspired light display shouldn't cause anymore headache than it needs to.

To stay safe on the ladder, keep three points of contact on the ladder at all times. That means both feet and one hand or two hands and one foot on the ladder the whole time.

Have a spotter (goes without saying, but just in case).

Tip 6: Be fire cautious

About 160 fires start from Christmas trees each year, causing about $10 million in damages annually, the National Fire Protection Association reports.

Twenty-five percent of those fires start because of a candle or heat source placed too close to the tree.

“That’s one we worry about safety-wise, whether it’s candles people put out over the holiday season or electric heaters people plugged in. We really want to make sure people are keeping those away from anything flammable,” Spillett said.

For more tips on how to save energy during the holidays, click here.

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Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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