Watch How Long You Leave Your Christmas Lights On

Hanging holiday lights is a part of getting into the Christmas spirit for many, but experts warn that they may cause higher electric bills.

Officials with Alabama Power say that they often see an increase in electric bills during the holiday months, and they advise people to make changes in order to save money.

According to Alabama Power employee Anthony Cook, the impact Christmas lights have on your electric bill depends on your home and what you put up. Cook says that he recommends that people switch to more energy-friendly lights such as LEDs that use 90% less electricity than traditional lights. He added that although they cost more, they tend to last longer as well.

Cook said that another factor that impacts the cost of Christmas lights is how long they are left on. According to Cook, using timers and unplugging lights before bed can help lessen the impact on your electric bill. He added that Alabama Power makes it easy to monitor your electricity usage on their app.

“The strongest factor in the amount of your power bill is your usage and so we encourage our customers to routinely monitor how much energy they are using from day to day and from month to month and our tools particularly the “my power usage” tool will help you do that,” Cook said.

In addition to lights, experts say that cooking, the cooler weather and visits from family and friends, can all add to an increase in costs around the holidays. Cook suggested that one way to help save money on bills is by using a smart thermostat. He explained that they automatically set the temperature in your home to the most efficient setting while monitoring your behaviors to learn when you’re in and out of the house.

Alabama Power also has a Project Share program where you can help out other families struggling during the holidays and donate money to help pay their energy bills. According to officials, the program helped 27,000 families last year.

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