When Santa was just a little guy, most St. Clair homes that put up Christmas lights used the incandescent type. The lights were very pretty, of course, but they put off a lot of heat which can cause a fire, plus they used quite a bit of electricity.

Santa's now a bit older and lighting has grown up too. Nowadays, with the introduction of LED (Light Emitting Diode) Christmas lighting, energy consumption is down about 70% from what the old incandescent used, and the lights themselves are cooler and last about 10 times longer. You can even connect up to 87 strands to reach all the darkest corners of your home.

But there's always something new under the sun, and that's where solar-powered Christmas lights come in. These are still LED but are now powered by solar energy rather than electricity. A small solar panel about the size of a hockey puck holds rechargeable batteries that can run a 100-bulb string for 6 to 8 hours after the sun goes down. Of course, if the weather hits a cloudy spell, as December weather sometimes does in Missouri, your solar lights may have a problem glowing into the night.

So the question is, should you go solar with your Christmas lighting? Figure it out for yourself - here are some statistics to help you:

Purchase Price of a 100-Bulb String:

            Regular LED:  $ 8.00
            Solar LED:      $ 30.00

Operating Cost for a 100-Bulb String:

            Regular LED:  30 cents for 300 hours (that's 10 hours a night for the month of December)
            Solar LED:      0

At this rate, it would take about 45 years to save enough in electricity to pay for the added cost of purchasing the solar-powered lights. Of course, since solar-powered Christmas lights are new on the market, there's currently no track record to go on that they would be able to last 45 years.

On the other hand, your $8 strand of LED Christmas lights are said to be able to burn for up to 100,000 hours over their long lifetime. At 300 hours a year, that's over 333 years. You may even want special provisions in your Will to bequeath these light strings to future generations.

Deciding between electric or solar LED Christmas lighting doesn't seem to be a very hard decision to make. Finding the right home for you and your family in the St. Clair area may be a little harder, so when you want some help why not give me, Scott Hickinbotham, a call at 636-629-3419 or contact me online. Your perfect St. Clair area home is waiting. Merry Christmas, everyone!!