Keep the bills low

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - TRADES & SERVICES - Janita Singh For more de­tails visit: aus­

DEC­O­RAT­ING homes with lights at Christ­mas is a fam­ily tra­di­tion many en­joy.

But be­fore hit­ting the shops, take some time out to plan your lights.

Aus­grid en­ergy ef­fi­ciency ex­pert Robert Simp­son says it is im­por­tant to con­sider the fol­low­ing fac­tors: Sav­ings: If you’re in the mar­ket to up­date your Christ­mas light dec­o­ra­tions, your first pick should be LED, fi­bre op­tic or so­lar­pow­ered to keep your bills down, Simp­son says.

“Check­ing the pack­ag­ing for en­ergy use in­for­ma­tion is the sim­plest way to make an ed­u­cated choice,” he adds.

So­lar-pow­ered fairy lights charge up dur­ing the day with zero im­pact on your en­ergy bill. Put the so­lar panel in an area with full sun.

Simp­son says a string of 100 en­ergy-ef­fi­cient LED fairy lights is cheap to buy and even cheaper to run.

You can pick them up for about $15 and it will only cost you about 50 cents to run for the month (if you switch them on for 10 hours a night).

“LED fairy lights use less than half the en­ergy con­sumed by stan­dard ones.’’ Safety: You might want to think twice be­fore buy­ing a cheap set. Buy from a rep­utable re­tailer and make sure they com­ply with Aus­tralian stan­dards (look for the ap- proval num­ber or the com­pli­ance logo on the pack­age).

Find­ing a bar­gain on­line from over­seas might save you dol­lars, but may not com­ply with Aus­tralian safety stan­dards.

Simp­son says if you buy sec­ond-hand Christ­mas lights, get them tested by an elec­tri­cian. If you’re us­ing last year’s dec­o­ra­tions, check that all bulbs work and re­place them cor­rectly.

Check for frayed cords and don’t pig­gy­back adap­tors and keep tin­sel and other metal­lic dec­o­ra­tions away from elec­tri­cal lights; you should also only use weath­er­proof lights out­doors.

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