On walking around the neighbourhood and admiring the many Christmas lights adorning the houses … one thing has struck me.
About one house in three has put up lights that a percentage of the bulbs have failed. One house in particular, I have no idea why they bothered putting their lights up as over half the bulbs were unlit.
The biggest culprit appears to be the ‘Icicle Lights’ with the mini-Rice or LED bulbs. In my experience the cheaply made and cheaply sold LED lights do not last more than a season without failing. Out of all the LED sets from Argos / Asda we have purchased over the last three years, only one set has survived. This has worked out, according to my quick calculations, at £70 a year cost in replacing lights that were all less than two years old.
The only set that we have had some success with has been an outside incandescent twinkling set – this is their third year and I’m only a third of the way through the spare bulbs.
I’ve noticed that the high-street stores seem to stock less of these cheaper lights than they did in previous years, perhaps the returns became too expensive.
This year we’ve spent £200 on some quality LED lights that we hope will last a long time. We have 15 meter combo-action of LED Warm White Icicle Lights, 10 meters of combo-action LED Multicoloured Lights, as well as reusing lights that survived last year without breaking.
These new LED lights look very well made, and the connections are packed with resin to stop water ingress. The instructions say to ensure that the lights are thoroughly dried out before storage – this is something we intend on getting right.
I purchased the new lights from Festive Lights.
Although it bugs me a bit to use incandescent lights – the actual power used is measured in pennies and is cheaper than throwing them away and buying new LED lights. On the whole I’ve been pleased with the LED option – and can recommend when using ‘White’ to select the ‘Warm White’ shade if available.
Most of the I have set up are on an electronic timer – this helps me avoid forgetting to turn them off at night!
I will test the power consumption in due course – it’ll be interesting to tot up how much extra energy we are using because of Christmas.
EDIT: We’re using 88 Watts for all of this,