Tips to keep light displays jolly and avoid higher electric bills, safety concerns

Posted at 1:52 PM, Dec 06, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - Home holiday light displays typically bring people out to admire the lights and share feelings of holiday joy. Holiday light displays could also result in a costly electric bill for the homeowner.

"We do get calls over the holidays because people are using more lights for their decorations,” Bonita Billingsley Harris, regional director with Dominion Energy, told News 3.

Though it's a common occurrence, Harris shared some money-saving tips. She recommended switching over to LED holiday lights because LEDs use about 75 percent less energy and last longer. They are also cooler to the touch compared to incandescent lights.

Harris suggested turning your lights on when it's dark and turning them off before going to bed. Keeping them on for about six hours at most is recommended.

If keeping track of time is hard, that's where a plug-in timer could help, Harris said.

"We've tried really hard to help people understand what they can do to keep their bills down and what we can do to help people if they get behind on their bills,” Harris said. “Right now we're not doing any disconnects during the pandemic."

High electric bills are not the only thing people should worry about, Harris explained. Holiday lights could also start fires.

The National Fire Protection Association reported that between 2014 and 2018, there were an average of 770 home fires across the nation.

Harris also provided safety tips when setting up your holiday lights.

"Follow the labels and directions carefully when you're using holiday lights,” she explained. “There are safety rules on there.”

Also, don't overload outlets, as that could cause a short circuit. Do not have wires scattered all over the ground and especially near things that could combust if the wires get heated.

If you need to use power strips, do not plug multiple power strips into another. This is known as daisy-chaining.

"We just really want everyone to enjoy it and celebrate and be able to decorate as they like,” Harris said. “We just want to make sure they do it safely and in a way that won't cost them too much."