Tis the season to decorate the house in all the lights and blowups and decorations that you have to show the neighbor you have the best house...I mean to show your Christmas spirit.  But, how much is that Christmas spirit actually costing you in your electric bill come January.

Let's first start with this, if you are decorating your house, you could take home $500 with our Light Up The QC contest.  More than likely, you won't be using all $500 of that on electricity.  But if you do, there is a good chance you will win.

When breaking down the numbers of how much your Christmas display will cost you simply look at the lights.  If you are running an air pump to keep a 12ft Santa inflated for the next month, then I hope you've been saving all year.  Cause that will definitely be costing you more.

What is the cost of your electricity?

The average person in Davenport is paying 8.83 cents per kWh.  Meanwhile, the average person in Moline is paying 8.71 cents per kWh.  These are residential electricity rates.  If you are trying to figure out how much the decorations are costing your business, it's a lot more.  Don't put any lights up and give the savings back to your employees.

How much energy do Christmas lights use?

This depends on the kind of bulbs you are using.  If you are using the standard "mini lights" that run $2.50 a box at Wal-Mart a string of 100 use on average 0.95 kWh per hour.  If you are using the LED lights that run $6.00 at Wal-Mart, you are only using 0.0045 kWh per hour.  While that initial cost might make you grab the cheap box, the difference in those lights is going to save you over 80% on your electricity.  Oh, and if you are still using those giant bulbs that actually get hot, just stop reading.  You are paying an absurd amount and you really don't want to know what the cost is.

What about the electric plug timers to shut them off for me?

Here is another great way to save, and not worry about turning them off or on.  Those are going to cost you about $10 each.  But, do you need one of those because you plugged all 100 strands into one outlet Griswold style, or do you need to buy multiple to turn them on/off.  Cause that $10 per device could quickly eat into your savings.

Here is a real-world example.

I have 10 strands of non-led lights at the house.  Yep, I'm rolling big and bright.  4 on the tree, 6 on the porch (which I will leave up till April).  So in all, that is 1000 twinkling little lights that I am basically not shutting off for the next month.  That means I am using 9.5 kWh per day.  Or about 83 cents per day.  Or about $25.73 over the next month.  If I buy that timer to shut them off during the day (which is only like 8 hours a day in December) I'll be saving about $8.  So it won't cover the cost of the timer in year one.  But, assuming it doesn't break after one year, it will provide cost benefits next year.

In conclusion...

The lights probably won't break the bank unless you really are using 25,000 like Clark Griswold.  (That would cost you about $643.25.) The savings on the LED lights are definitely real.  But, with more than 2x the cost, you need to be sure they don't break to see those savings.  And the automatic timer will definitely help cut some costs, but mostly is a great investment for your outside lights.  Cause let's be real, you aren't opening that door before bed to shut off those lights.

And remember the extra dollars here and there are worth it to show that Christmas spirit to the neighborhood, or to the moon.

Check out more examples and figure your costs at powerley.com.

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