Christmas Light Comparisons
Incandescent Christmas Lights
The light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison, who supported a DC transmission model. It was Nikola Tesla, who was the inventor and proponent of AC electric (AC is what we use today for residential home power). In the war of these two inventors, AC power won out as the transmission to transport electricity across the country. Before the common place of electrical lighting oil lamps and candles were the primary lighting sources. When people celebrated Christmas with this type of illumination, many deaths followed. Electricity was the ideal way to light your home and your Christmas Tree. The death rate from fire was dramatically decreased.
Incandescent light bulbs are safer than candles and oil lamps but could still become very hot. Because of the heat, glass bulbs are often used rather than plastic covers such as in LED lights. These glass bulbs could be easily broken and when attached to an overly dry Christmas Tree a fire could still be set quickly. Smaller bulbs found their place on Christmas Trees, and the larger brighter bulbs found a home as lighting decoration for exterior lighting. The heat still was a factor and can be contributed to fires but far less from the days of candles and oil lamps.
LED Christmas Lights
The LED (light-emitting diode) was invented by a British experimenter by the name of H.J. Round in 1907. Today LED lights are quickly becoming the most popular form of Christmas Lighting, but that has not always been true. In the past LED lights were a bit expensive to be used for such a common application like Christmas and festive lighting. LED lights found a home in small electronic devices and some commercial applications.
It wasn't until around 1998-2000 that LED started to be seen in Christmas Lighting applications. The first uses of LEDs were in pre-lit decorations like wreaths, pre-lit Christmas Trees, and other minor applications. In 2005, the Capital Christmas Tree was lit with 10% LED lighting and the remainder with conventional incandescent lighting. Just a year later in 2006 the Capital Christmas Tree was lit 100% by LED Christmas Lights. By this time, the cost of lights had come down and the quality had gotten better. In 2007, another famous Christmas Tree was lit with LED Christmas Lights, that was the Rockefeller Center. Again the following year in 2008 the tsunami of support for LED Christmas lighting was demonstrated by The Columbus Zoo announced they would over the next two years would convert all lightings to LED lights.
As demonstrated by the history of LED lighting everyone is getting on the bandwagon to support LED lighting technology. The major reason for this support is substantial energy savings of up to 90% as compared to regular incandescent lighting. In addition LED lights are cool to the touch and use plastic cover rather than easily broken glass bulbs. Because to the energy consumption being so low the ability to string more strands of lighting together make installations much easier. Fewer extension cords, timers, and electrical outlets are needed to complete an installation. The final nail in the coffin of incandescent Christmas Lighting is the fact that LED lights last about 75,000 hours to just a few thousand for incandescent lights.