Christmas Decorating with Outdoor LED Christmas Lights
I remember when I was a child, around mid November my mother would dig out her boxes of outdoor Christmas lights. She had strands and strands of colored strings of lights and yes, like most people, they weren't properly stored from the year before and now they were a tangled mess.
Which of these were the ones that worked? It's hard to tell, I guess we'll have to check them all.
You know the routine. Year after year, we would sit for hours untangling them and checking them to see if they worked. There were always strands with one bulb out. Why did we always set them aside, afraid to be wasteful, fully intending to fix them? Them all we seem to do is wad them all back up just to do it all again next year.
It's time to chunk all of those old Christmas lights. Let me give you a few good reasons why so you don't have to feel wasteful about it.
Switch to Christmas LED Lights
Consider switching to LED lights.
What are LED lights?
LED lights (Light Emitting Diodes) are constructed from tiny solid-state chips that convert electricity to light without the use of a filament or glass bulb. (Standard incandescent bulbs create light by transmitting electricity through a resistant filament which creates heat. A bi-product of the heat created is light.) LED lights encapsulate solid-state chips in solid (and nearly indestructible) epoxy plastic that can be made into a variety of shapes and sizes.
Do not connect LED string lights to your regular strings of lights. The LED lights contain a tiny fuse that could easily be blown with the amount of electricity the regular lights will draw. Do not mix the strands.
LED Quick Facts
Oleg Vladimirovich Losev, a Russian radio technician built the first LED in the 1920s
Texas Instruments experimenters Robert Biard and Gary Pittman received the patent for the infrared LED in 1961
The LED was first introduced as a practical electronic component in 1962 when the first practical visible-spectrum LED was developed by Nick Holonyak Jr. while working at General Electric. He is seen as the "father of the light-emitting diode"
Early LED only emitted low-intensity red light, today's cover the visible, ultraviolet and infra-red wavelengths and with very high brightness
The Monsanto Company was the first to mass-produce visible LEDs
The first applications of LEDs were for the replacement of incandescent indicators in expensive lab equipment, electronics, appliances, TVs, radios, calculators and watches.
Many of the LEDs produced in the 70s and 80s are still being used today
The Italian village of Torraca was the first place to convert its entire illumination system to LEDs in 2007.
Reasons to Switch to LED Christmas Lights
There are a number of reasons you will want to consider throwing out the old Christmas lights and replacing them with energy-efficient LED lights. They can be used indoors or outdoors.
- LED lights use only 10% of the electricity of regular lights. It's estimated to be a $20 saving for a 30 period for a typical household.
Bulbs/lamps remain cool to the touch reducing the threat of fire. (14 people die a year from Christmas tree fires) They convert energy to light not heat.
One bulb doesn't make the whole string go out.
LED lamps are rated for 50,000-200,000 hours of use compared to the 1,500-2,000 hours for incandescent lights.
LED lights are encased in an epoxy casing that makes them almost impossible to break. The are not sensitive to vibration
LED lamps have no filaments to burn out or to get damaged if you drop on them or step on them.
Dimmable and programmable
Turn on quickly
Lightweight and compact
LED lamps have rust proof, zinc-coated contacts that makes them a good choice for outdoors.
No power converters or transformers required, they use standard house current (120 VAC, 60 Hz).
No color fading
Cost is virtually the same
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