Wedding decorations on Clearance

Funny thing, wedding decorations. They can be found in the after Christmas clearance section at Home Depot and Walmart.

Katie said she wanted lights. White icicle lights and blue lights. The room is 108×58 give or take. That’s a lot of lights.

Good thing they are 75% off.

Me, being the retard that I am, can’t pass up a good bargain. So, I went a bit overboard. I bought over ten thousand lights. Katie’s specs only called for about 7 thousand lights. Maybe a few less. I bought extra in case there is a bad strand. No need fussing with it, just put up a different one.

I guess I will have those white icicle lights up around the whole place for the wedding – or at least 3 sides of it. There will also be blue lights along the walkway down the center of the room too I guess.

I also found some LED lights that didn’t fit into her request. I bought them anyhow. LED lights are going to be the wave of the future. I wanted some to play with.

The LED package says ‘Save 80%’. Oh really? So I ran the numbers. Yep, it’s 80% judging from the power consumption labels.

I made up a spreadsheet. I am such a geek.

I had to figure out my electricity cost, as they don’t tell you what they charge, just an uber-itemized bill that I think is designed to confuse. Disregarding the fixed costs for meter charge, etc. which is roughly $10 a month, it looks like my electricity costs roughly $0.07 per kilowatt hour.

At that rate. All the lights I bought today would cost $16 a year to run 24/7. The icicle lights are $0.38 a strand a year. The LED lights are a penny a year. Now, that’s comparing apples to peppercorns. The icicle lights have 300 bulbs per strand, the LED lights, 25. If you go bulb per bulb, and use a dozen LED strands, your still looking at around 1/3 the price – which, when you figure it without the rough rounding of the above numbers, is the 80% savings they claim on the box. Granted, the LED lights cost over 10 times more per bulb. They should have a much longer lifespan, so if they last 10 times longer then regular bulbs, they would break even just in that respect. However, regular lights use less then 1/10 of their purchase price in electricity a year.

If I did my math right, the point where LED lights are overall cheaper then regular bulbs is after running them continuously for fifty years (assuming that they both last that long). That doesn’t seem right, does it? Somebody check my math. 1 strand of 100 regular lights – $2.38. 1.33 strands of LED lights, 60 lights per string at 6.98 is $9.28 worth of string lights so we are comparing equal bulb counts. $0.19 a year difference in electricity costs (using the longer string here, three cents a year). That’s almost 50 years of continuously running the lights before you saved more in electricity then you spent on the more expensive bulbs.

Doesn’t hardly seem worth it, does it?

One thing I did notice about the LED lights. The sum of the current for the individual bulbs is 1/3 to 1/2 that of the string as a whole is rated for.
That means that 1/3 to 1/2 of the electricity being used by a string of LED lights is wasted in the current limiting resisters in the string of lights.

That means, that if we can figure out how to wire them up more efficiently, they will run even more efficiently yet..