The cool winter air foreshadows the holiday season, and no holiday season is complete without bright and festive lights engulfing every home on the block.

However, behind the glittery lights are a few safety concerns and costly electric bills.

This year, as you bring your holiday decorations up from the basement, consider ways in which you can cut down your electric bill and maintain safety.

How Much Do Your Holiday Lights Cost?

Frist, it is important to evaluate how much you currently spend. The cost of keeping holiday lights on for the season varies based on the number of lights used, the variety of bulbs and how long the lights are left running.

From modest usage of lights to excessive, it can cost you anywhere from $1.50 to $310 to display your home’s festivity. Use the Christmas Lights Electricity Cost Calculator to evaluate just how much you spend each season. You may be surprised by your results.

Stay Safe, Save Money and Create Convenience

The following four tricks will allow you to keep all the merriment without the high costs and associated safety risks.

1. Switch to LED Lights

Incandescent bulbs are less expensive to buy than LED bulbs, but are much more expensive to power. We suggest springing for the LED lights—they’ll save you a lot of money in the long run. In fact, the cost to power incandescent bulbs can be up to 90 times greater than powering LED bulbs.

2. Only Use Designated Outdoor Lighting

When purchasing holiday lights, check the box to ensure that they are approved for outdoor use. Decorating your home’s exterior with lights that are not specifically made to withstand the weather can be dangerous.

That said, when storing lights, keep indoor and outdoor lights separate so the wrong ones are not accidently used.

3. Don’t Overload Circuits

An overloaded circuit could lead to a temporary power outage, blown fuses and risk of electrical fire. Avoid this by limiting the quantity of holiday lights to any one circuit.

The box your lights came in will specify the amperage needed to power the strands. Most homes have 20-amp circuits; however, you should check your breaker box to see the exact specifications for each circuit.

Furthermore, as a rule of thumb, never load your circuit to more than 80% of its capacity.

4. Automate Holiday Lights

Here’s where the real savings come in. Through home automation technology, you can schedule your lights to turn on and off at set times—it’s environmentally conscious and will save you money.

We recommend scheduling lights to turn on at dusk and off around 11:00 p.m. or 12:00 a.m. This way, the lights are only on during highly trafficked times, meaning you wont spend money on electricity when no one is around to see your lights.

Take this technology one step further by controlling your lights remotely. Simply log on via your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone to control the lights as you wish or update your preset schedule.

Have you found ways to cut costs and stay safe when decorating your home for the holidays? Share your thoughts in the comments below.