How Much Does It Cost To Run Christmas Lights? – Forbes

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Published: Nov 29, 2022, 1:19pm
Homes around the country are starting to light up as households decorate for the festive season, adding to already-high energy bills. 
But how much does it cost to run Christmas lights? Will the energy crisis mean some people won’t bother this year?
At 34p per kilowatt hour (kWh) – the current electricity price cap under the government’s Energy Price Guarantee, a display of 200 40-watt incandescent lights would cost a maximum of 16p to run for six hours. Do that every day for a month and your Christmas lights bill would cost just shy of £5.
Throw in a 12W inflatable Father Christmas for your lawn and another 200 lights for the outside of your home and your bill could go up to around £10-£11 for the month.
Use energy-efficient LED lights instead and you’ll spend less: 200 LEDs cost around 0.2p per hour to run. Have them on for six hours per day and that’s just 36p for the month.
While improved safety standards have led to a reduction in the number of fires started by Christmas lights, accidents can still happen. 
Modern, low-voltage LED lights are much safer than older, 240v fairy lights. LED lights remain cool to the touch when in use, but their plugs (called transformers) can heat up. It’s best to make sure transformers aren’t covered by anything that could stop them releasing heat and cooling down.
A good home insurance policy should protect you against fire and smoke damage to your property and possessions caused by Christmas lights, provided you’ve not been negligent when hanging them.
Common sense precautions like not overloading extension cords with transformers, not leaving household lights on while you’re out, replacing sets of lights with frayed wires and keeping wires away from candles or heaters are the best way to stay safe and protected by your home insurance.
Also, if you’re running cords out of a window for your garden display, make sure you’re not making it easy for someone to get into your property, or even just reach through and take something.
Many home insurance contents policies also boost the amount of cover you have during religious festivals to take account of gifts and presents that might tempt thieves.
This might mean an increase to the ‘contents sum insured’ by 10% in December and January.
Even so, it’s probably worthwhile keeping presents out of view of your street-facing windows so they’re not on display.
If you’re buying someone a particularly expensive item, remember that contents policies have a ‘single item limit’ – this is the most the policy will pay out on any given possession unless you actually tell the insurance company about it. It’s usually set somewhere around £1,200 to £2,000.
It would therefore be worth telling your insurer if you’re going to have such an item on your property before you give it to the lucky recipient.
Remember also that many contents policies also cover the cost of replacing food that is spoiled because your freezer breaks down.
Staff writer Mark Hooson has been a journalist within the personal finance, consumer affairs and fraud sectors for more than 10 years. He is also Forbes Advisor UK’s resident tech expert. Mark says he thrives on making ‘complicated and dry topics easier to digest’.

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