Christmas Lights Power Consumption
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Calculating Christmas lights power consumption is simple. Below find answers to common questions like:
How Much Power Do My Christmas Lights Use?
A common question asked is how much electricity do Christmas lights use? You have to make a few calculations to understand the power demands of your lights. Before doing so, it helps to understand a little electricity 101.
- Electrical power is measured in watts. Understanding how many watts your Christmas lights require to run is a key part of knowing the total power load of your display.
- Current is measured in Amps.
- Voltage is the measure of pressure needed to deliver the current. Your normal household outlets, for example, carry 120 volts each.
Christmas light wattage is easy to calculate, so now that you have an understanding of electricity basics, you can begin to calculate the total wattage of Christmas lights.
How Many Christmas Lights Can I String Together?
Underwriters Laboratory (UL) updated their standards for Christmas lights to allow an increase in the wattage limit to a max 210 watts connected on 22 gauge wire and max 420 watts connected on 20 gauge wire. See the chart below to see how many mini lights can be connected together while maintaining UL standards.
|Mini Lights||Lights Per String||String Watts||Max Strings Connected|
|Standard Mini Lights||50||20.4 watts||10|
|Standard Mini Lights||100||40.8 watts||5|
|Premium Mini Lights||50||20.4 watts||10|
|Premium Mini Lights||100||40.8 watts||5|
|Commercial Mini Lights||100||40.8 watts||10|
|LED Mini Lights|
|LED 5MM Mini Lights||70||4.8 watts||48|
|Commercial LED 5MM Lights||25||2.4 watts||175|
What Is The Total Wattage of My Christmas Lights?
Calculate how many watts are Christmas lights strings with a simple equation. Take for example one of our 100 count C7 light strands with each bulb requiring 5 Watts. The calculation for determining total wattage for that Christmas lights string is depicted below. So the wattage for our strand of lights is:
100 Bulbs X 5W per bulb = 500 Watts
How Do I Calculate Amps?
Next you need to know the Amps for the 500 Watt string of lights. Calculate Amps by dividing the total wattage by 120 Volts (which is the voltage carried by a common household outlet).
500 Watts / 120 Volts= 4.17 Amps
You will need a total of 4.17 Amps available for a 100 count strand of 5 watt C7 lights.
How Many Outlets Do I Need For My Christmas Lights?
Common household outlets carry 120 volts and are fed by a 15 Amp circuit so you will need to know how many outlets are on the circuit you are using. Once you know that, divide the total wattage of a 15 Amp current (1440 Watts) by the wattage of your Christmas lights. Keep in mind that you may have other items such as outdoor Christmas decorations plugged into an outlet on that circuit. For that reason, you will have to account for the added power needs of the decorations and lower the amount of strings on the circuit. View the chart below for amp needs for more common types of light strings:
Wattage and Amps Circuit Table
|Christmas Lights||Lights/String||Watts/String||Amps/String||Strings/15 Amp Circuit|
|C7 Light Strings||25||125||1.14||11|
|C9 Light Strings||25||175||1.59||8|
|5MM Mini LED Lights||70||4.8||0.04||300|
|Commercial 5MM LED Lights||25||2.4||0.02||600||C7, C9 LED Light Strings||25||2.4||0.02||600|
Do LEDs really save power? YES!
LED Christmas lights wattage is significantly less than standard incandescent lights yet they are brighter and remain true to their color, making LED Christmas light power consumption far less than incandescent bulbs. LEDs allow freedom to connect many more LED strands together. When comparing a C9 bulb (7 watts) with a LED bulb (.96 watts), LED Christmas lights energy savings increase by 86%. Consider other benefits of LEDs:
- Connect more light strings with LEDs
- Long Lasting: Average 100,000 hours use
- Stay cool to the touch
- Nearly unbreakable
- 80-90% energy savings
How do I estimate the length of wire needed?
Several factors like string amp capacity, bulb wattage and socket spacing affect the estimated length of wire. Christmas Lights, Etc sells multiple lengths Christmas lights spools and strings for your custom lighting needs. You can easily trim the wires to your designated length. Use the calculations for watts and amps above to make sure each run does not exceed its limit.
How many sockets do I need?
The equation below gives a good starting point. Once the number of sockets is determined using the equation, calculate watts and amps to make sure it is still within a safe range.
Why do you recommend timers?
Timers are another idea to save electricity. Timers work to switch on and off the lights during peak hours.
If you have any other questions, use the online chat during normal business hours and our customer service experts will help you figure out your power needs!
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