Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on December 21, 2007
I can tell you one thing for sure: the only fire I want at my house this Christmas is the open one roasting the chestnuts. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that from 2000 to 2004, Christmas trees — both natural and artificial — were the first items ignited in 300 of the reported home fires. Furthermore, holiday decorative lighting directly caused an additional 170 home structure fires in the same period with various materials being the primary source of ignition. These fires caused deaths, injuries, and $5.5 million in property damage.
And you thought the only lighting quandary was incandescent vs. LED. Merry Christmas, everybody.
It is, however, an issue worth researching. Most people know that incandescent lights are power hogs, that LEDs are more expensive, and that both are on Santa’s “bad” list when it comes to disposal.
Recent Consumer Reports research shed some light on the subject. The study compared the two types using fifty feet of stringed bulbs in three sizes, mini, C7, and C9, for 300 hours.
Their findings? Not surprisingly, LEDs beat out incandescent for energy usage — 1 to 3 kilowatt hours versus 12 to 105 kilowatt hours, a savings of $1 to $11. Plus, all of the LEDs tested were in working condition after 4,000-plus hours, while the incandescents started to wane around the 2,000 mark. And while the minis were slightly dimmer, the C9 and C7 incandescents were five to six times brighter than LEDs. But you can’t have everything.
And here’s another interesting fact: when it comes to string lighting, the cost of LEDs vary from color to color. Why? Because different colors are created by different semi-conductor materials, some of which are more expensive than others. The most expensive color is white because it’s comprised of red, green and blue. So, if price is a deal breaker for you, you might want to dream of a Christmas other than white.
But back to the holiday fires, which may be more important than the cost or greenness. The facts are, LED bulbs are cooler to the touch and less likely to spark a disaster when in close proximity to highly combustible items such as Christmas Trees and outside near dead shrubbery. I’m not saying they’re 100% safe, but I think it’s fair to assume that no cord surging with electricity is going to be fireproof when draped around a dry, deceased plant.
So, when making your choice this or holiday season, make it a bright, happy, and safe one.