The zen of holiday lights

incandescents1We spent most of today dealing with our old, incandescent holiday lights. Not my most favorite use of time, I might add.

Last year, we replaced the aged, failing incandescents in our mini-Redwood grove with (then) very expensive LED lights. The new lights reach twice as high into our now 4-story tall trees than the old ones, use about one-tenth the energy, and have been a big hit with the neighbors and passers-by who stop in to say how much they enjoy the display.

However we still are using our old incandescent strings along the gutters and (would have been) roof lines. Big mistake.

My current mobility/balance config dictated outsourcing the chore of putting up the lights. A little spousal internecine conflict delayed that chore, which eventually was shouldered by David Sanchez, the very capable carpenter who has been working on the infrastructure for our new garden (a deck, planter boxes, and tool shed).

David, a very thorough worker, condensed my ten ancient strings to five fully-lit expanses of cheer (limiting us to gutters only), which glory lasted almost 24 hours, until a cold, drenching, prolonged rain produced the usual result – numerous blown fuses. After successive visits, one by David and two by me, to various hardware outlets, we had corralled enough correctly sized – physically, if not electrically – fuses and a step ladder sufficiently tall to easily reach the gutters.

Tonight the gutter line blazes in full glory – but we’ve already lost 5 or 6 bulbs that previously worked. If it rains again, we’ll doubtless lose the fuses, but we bought spares in anticipation.

We note that our 125 incandescent lights are consuming some 800 watts, while the 800 lights in the redwoods consume about 200 watts. All of the LEDs work, but the incandescents lose bulbs every time they turn on. Clearly, it’s time to upgrade… and LEDs are cheaper this year.


About Chris Gulker

Chris Gulker, a self-described Infuential Blogger, lived in Menlo Park, California with spouse Linda. He passed away in late October 2010.
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One Response to The zen of holiday lights

  1. Yes, progress and new technology inevitably win out in so many venues. But the glowing glory that was the older, larger bulbs is a lovely memory. You are to be congratulated for making them last as long as you have.

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