Decorating

Coconut tree decorated with LED light bulbs shot after sunset against dark blue sky.

Putting up strings of holiday lights and giving special gifts to family and friends are holiday traditions for many Floridians. Before you deck the halls this year, consider how your decorations may impact your energy use and your bill.

“Depending on what type of holiday lights you use, those beautiful glowing strands can use a lot more energy than you’d think, which can drive up your energy bill,” said Florida Power & Light Company Energy Expert Monica Landrini. “Purchasing LED lights may be more costly upfront, but will save you money throughout the season. LED lights use 80 to 90 percent less energy and can last 10 times as long as standard incandescent bulbs which saves you more over time.”

Here are more tips from FPL’s energy expert on ways you can decorate smarter and safer, as well as how you can give the gift of savings this holiday season.

Decorate smarter

Set it and forget it: Use automatic timers to control how long you are running your lights or holiday inflatables each day. The fewer the hours, the less energy you’ll use.

Use extension cords: Need to add length to your holiday lighting display? Consider using extension cords in less visible areas, so that you’re using your holiday lights where they’ll make the most visual impact.

Include energy-free décor: You can supplement your holiday displays with wreaths, ribbons and other decorations that don’t consume energy.

Use inflatables carefully: Although large inflatable decorations are fun and more popular than ever, they can be some of the most expensive holiday decorations. For example, if you run a large, animated snow globe around the clock throughout December, it can add nearly $15 to your energy bill.

Keep safety top of mind

Inspect lights each year: Whether you’re using old or new holiday lights, inspect them for damage. Return or discard any with cracked or broken sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections.

Check the rating: Ensure that outdoor lighting and extension cords are UL-rated for exterior use. Never use indoor lights outside – although using outdoor lights inside the home is fine.

Keep them grounded: All outdoor electrical decorations should be plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). You can buy portable units for outdoor use or have them permanently installed.

Give gifts that help save money

Take advantage of FPL customer discount: FPL customers are now eligible to save $60 on a new ecobee4 Smart Thermostat with Amazon Alexa and can also save $40 on the ecobee3 lite. The savings don’t stop there – using a smart thermostat can save you on average $50 a year on your energy bill. Buy today at ecobee.com/FPL.

Look for the ENERGY STAR® logo: If you’re investing in larger appliances or electronics, select models that are ENERGY STAR-rated as they’ll use 40 percent less energy than comparable models.

Ask Alexa how to save: If you have a device with Amazon Alexa, you can now enable the FPL skill. Then, ask Alexa for energy savings tips from FPL all year long to find new ways to save energy and money.

For more information, visit FPL.com/EasyToSave.