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Tiffany Spence

About "Ask the Energy Expert"

Tiffany Spence is an energy expert at Florida Power & Light Company. She’s conducted thousands of energy audits at homes and businesses, helping customers find new ways to make their bills even lower.

Your questions on energy-related topics can be submitted anytime to our Ask the Energy Expert blog. Just click here to submit your question, and if chosen, it will be answered here

Don’t let those decorations leave you crying “Bah humbug!”

By Tiffany Spence

Asked on: October 26, 2016 by Rebecca P., Sarasota

How much can I expect my energy bill to go up in December with all the holiday decorations?

Hi Rebecca, as we approach the holiday season, it’s definitely a good idea to understand how much your decorations may impact your energy usage and bill. A number of things will influence your energy bill, such as how elaborate of a display you have, and the number of lights and choice of bulbs – incandescent or LED.  

Did you know that a 100-count string of incandescent mini lights runs at 40 watts, while a 70-count of 5mm LEDs is approximately 4.8 watts total? That means that the cost to power incandescent lights can be up to 90-times greater than powering LEDs. And, LED lights use about one-tenth the energy of old-fashion incandescent lights. Now, it’s true that LEDs are more costly upfront, but they may actually save you money in the long run. However, I wouldn’t recommend getting rid of all your incandescent lights all at once; wait until they don’t work anymore and then upgrade to LEDs. Unless of course, you’re interested in decking your halls like Clark Griswold, then I would definitely recommend using LEDs.

Calculate your holiday lighting energy usage
To find out the total watts you’ll be using, see the calculations below for a quick estimate:

  • Watts per bulb x number of bulbs on the string = total watts per string
  • Multiple total watts per string x how many strings of lights = total watts

Once you have an idea about many total watts you’ll be using:

  1. Multiply total watts by 0.001 to find the kilo-watt hour (kwh) = kwh
  2. Multiply kwh by 5 hours a day to find kwh per day = kwh/day
  3. Multiply kwh/day by 30 days = kwh/month
  4. Multiply kwh/month by the current FPL cost per kilo-watt of .113 cents = ESTIMATED COST

Now, that’s your cost based running your holiday display five hours per day for 30 days. Of course, you can control this cost by when you choose to put up your lights, how many strings you use and how long you have them on each evening is up to you and your budget. But, at least you can estimate how much it may add to your bill.

Have you ever wanted to put a giant inflatable reindeer or snowman in your yard?
As for those fun inflatable decorations that have become very popular in recent years, typical inflatables can cost anywhere from $2 - $9 a month, depending on the size, whether it’s animated or not, and how long you have it inflated each day.

Easy tips to help you save:

  1. Buy LEDs – they are more expensive up front, but you’ll save on energy costs in the future. Plus, they don’t radiate heat like incandescent bulbs, making them safer to people and other potentially combustible decorations.
  2. Use automatic timers –to ensure you’re running the lights or inflatable’s for a defined time period each day – fewer hours means less energy used.
  3. Use extension cords – instead of using light strings to add length to your display, utilize extension cords in less visible areas
  4. Be creative – supplement your holiday displays with ornaments such as wreaths, ribbons and other decorations that don't consume energy.

And most importantly, enjoy the holidays!


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Comments [87]

  1. Fred

    Can I lower my bill by running pool equipment during specific hours? I have a filter motor and a heat pump for water temperature.

  2. cynthia O'Shea

    someone hit the 3 ft high green pole coming up from my front yard. It is all mangled and there are wires sticking out. Is it an FLP piece of equipment? What number do I call to have it fixed?

  3. nina pollard

    hope to see and read bout a lot of ways to help me lower my bill

  4. Kaitlyn Stafford

    Hello, Im about to move to FL and need to start a FPL service at my apartment. I had a account once before but I cant remember; How much would is cost to start a new service at your home under personal name not business? Is there a deposit if so. what is it?

  5. Diana Gascon

    Why has my energy bill increased when I’ve been out of town most of January, and basically the only thing using electric power is the fridge. I don’t cook and when I’m in town I only come home to sleep.



    Can I set up to have a whole house surge protector installed

  7. Jack Garvin

    Hi FPL. Do you have a lightning protection program? One where my major appliances are protected from major surges in power? Looking for something beyond a simple surge protector. With GreyStone power in Atlanta the company installed high volume fuses on my meter box, supplied surge protectors to my major appliances, and guaranteed up to $20k any damage caused by a lightning strike.

    Just wondering if you might have a program like that I can review? Many Thanks.

  8. George Stewart

    About how much is the electrical cost for charging a Dust Devil small vacuum on a continuing basis?

  9. Catherine Morgan Durkee

    Does FPL still offer rebates for residential heat reduction window tinting? I’m getting all my town house windows and doors tinted with UV and heat reduction Solar Guard window film on February 4, 2017, and wanted to regisiter now with FPL for the rebate, which I think is $1/sq. foot of window surface. Please advise and send forms or correct FPL link. Thank you!

  10. Patricia Ramnainne

    Would like to know how I can get FPL in my house. LCEC is costing me to much in my electric bills and also been changing rates and rules in their company. MY father is in a fix income and can not be paying 250.00 to 350.00 dollars a month. Please send me an Email if you service NW Cape coral area. Thank you .

  11. Future for the World! CS

    FPL should provide Solar Panels as lease to own service for home owners, this would be a big step to help our environment. Instead of FPL building Solar Panel “farms” you could provide this service to home owners. Any extra energy can be put back on the grid for individuals without solar could benefit and reduce our overall dependency on fossil fuels. This is just an idea that should be considered.

  12. Amos Chong

    why on weekend (sat&sun) I use more electricity than during the week? Sometimes on weekend I am not even at home and it still is higher than during the week. Is the rate on weekend higher?

  13. Terry Wells

    Why are you holding $190.00 deposit. my bill has never been over $42.00
    what part of 2 months is different to you and me

  14. Marie-line Benjamin

    I have a tankless water heater, new impact windows. How come I do not see a difference in my bill.
    Seem to be around the same it was last year at this time WINTER as we have it in FLA. I believe something is wrong with my meter its not being read it just averaging what it was last year.



  16. Ralston Davis

    Why was my bill so high, when l wasn’t even home for the Christmas and New Year? I’m a senior citizen and live by myself.

  17. Michael Madia

    Thank you for your on going efforts to assist people in saving on energy usage.

  18. david ritchey

    Sure wish i knew why my bill is twice as high as last year.

  19. Lorna

    My question is DEHUMIDIFIERS, I looked up a site to calculate the cost based on Brand, Model, Star rating for Energy Efficient, kwh, voltage, hours in use and came up with .42 cents a day running 10 hours a day, that equates to $153 dollars approximately a year. My house was built in 1925 and has no insulation in the walls, (although I did insulate the attic), but I have moisture year round and Mold appears on furniture clothes floors. I hope that running these units will help with my moisture without creating a high electric usage.
    Thank you,

  20. Aixa KNUDSON

    How low should set the A/C unit during the hot summer season?

  21. Richard Gross

    What amount of humidity is safe without encouraging mold growth?

  22. Richard Gross

    What amount of humidity is safe without encouraging mold?

  23. Peter

    Hello, last month my cost per kilowatt hour was $0.155 and this month my cost per kilowatt hour is $0.1134. This is a 7% increase which seems quite high. Can you please explain this 7% increase. Thank you.

  24. Daniel

    I have heard that some power companies offer off-peak hour incentives (ex. mid-weekday or after 9PM). Does FPL reduce the rate for energy used by large appliances like washing machine or dryer during off-peak hours? If so, what are the hours and is the incentive worth planning chores around those times?

  25. Ruben Paredes

    Hi FPL is planning to drop a concrete electrical pole in front of my house and my kids room who should I talk to see if they can move it further out. Iam really desperate i cant get answers from anyone

  26. Christine

    I live in zip code 34202, how can we get FPL to service this area? Peace River Electric Coop is just horrible!

  27. Paul

    I received a card in the mail from FPL Energy Services in regards to a program for SurgeShield. Is this a FPL approved program by FPL or is it another service selling their services?

  28. tarah sol

    I want to know how do I get the actual cost of voltage from my outside light that stays on from 7pm -7am my landlord hooked up through my electricity illegally

  29. Minerva Vega

    I called on 1/7/17 about sparks coming from a tree hitting the wires , someone came out and shut down the power , ever since the power was shut down my water heater does not heat up water any more. I don’t know why but i wanted to know who will take care of this problem since it was no fault of mines. Who can i speak to besides my landlord regarding this problem ? and who will fix this ?

  30. terri sudol

    please help settle a disagreement. on average how much more energy/ money does it cost to put 3speed ceiling fans on high instead of low speed? which is better to help in cooling home?
    thank you

  31. lois

    we are from RI. In RI they had an energy program. An energy expert came out to your house to evaluate your energy usage. They also gave away free LED light bulbs to replace your old lights and power strips. Is there a program like that in Florida?

  32. Denis Audet

    I am considering replacing my hot water tank with a tankless hot water system.
    I have a 100 AMPs electric entry box; using an AC unit, and regular range and refrigerator. The system I am looking at requires a 40 AMP breaker. Would it be recommended? Thanks for your comments

  33. Joyce

    If the windows are open, should the thermostat be turned off or adjusted?

  34. Robert Hazleton

    I’d like to see how my bills compare to the average FPL customers for Palm Beach County or even the average customer for FPL.


  35. Leah DeJoseph

    In Florida, where the incoming water is not particularly cold to start with, is a water heater or an instantaneous water heater the most energy efficient?

  36. Fred

    what is the optimum setting for humidity and temperature during the summer months when the house is vacant for a period of time? 3 months-5 months. Would a smart thermostat be better than a static setting for the same period?

  37. melvin schiff

    my wife insists that it is more economical to leave a fluorescent light burning for several hours rather than turning if off and on. My wife has not been wrong about anything in the 49 years we are married. Is she wrong on this??

  38. lia kum kin

    Why has the electricity been surging ALL day today 01/03/2017 at my residence? And why is it soo powerful? It feels like the light bulbs will blow up its that strong?!

  39. Janet Satterfield

    Thank you very much .

  40. Janet Satterfield

    I would like to have a little money to myself if possible and also I love my little place I am in it is a mobile home Thanking you all very much if I can find a way to stretch my little money I get . Janet Satterfield




    vivo sola y ahorro tengo la costumbre de ahorrar energia y el BILL LLEGA ALTO, ya me canse, no hay manera de comunicarme con la compañia.

  43. Judy Cherry

    My bill was $175 last month and was always projected through the month to be $170-180 , I’m not doing anything different and from the beginning of this billing cycle it is showing projected bill to be $210, my question is why are they expecting my bill to go up that much? I never ever run heat, even in the 40s I will grab a blanket. when I look at my dashboard it always has Jan & Feb being the lowest bill of the year now its showing Jan going up? Have the rates gone up? because my usage stays the same.

  44. janet granlund

    Continue to save me money

    1. Janet Satterfield

      I live alone but I have to be careful how much utilities I use and when to use them I try to keep everything in order but sometimes I do not understand how to control the lowest amount and how to keep it possible to be able to control my bill as I am on a very limited income since my husband passed away a few years back and I did not have any ideal of paying anything I try my best therefore I would appreciate your help with how to control my expenses, Thank you very much for your comment you send to me to help as I only have a small amount of money to pay everything Thank you for your help I will thank you very much if you can help me to be able to to have a wonderful time and maybe we can figure a way to help me through this I love it here were I live it is very expensive for me though so maybe we can figure a better way to always be a good person and pay my bills on time THANK YOU VERY MUCH Janet Satterfield

  45. JB

    I have 2 questions just to get an idea how much it costs to cook at home. 1. How much does it cost on average to heat something 1 minute in the microwave? How much does it cost on average to use the crockpot on low for an hour? Do I just multiply that answer by the numbers of hours I cook?

    1. Bill W

      70 to 210 watts for my crockpot via killawatt.

  46. Mary H.

    Hello Tiffany,

    So, upon our arrival here in Fl. a year ago today, our FPL bill take a $20.00 increase each month. We’ve since made some drastic changes. NO AC at all during the day and set on Auto 78 degrees at night. Cold water only for laundry and cleaning. And set dryer to stop when clothing are dried. We’ve Unplugged everything that is not in use except the fridge. We expect to see a decrease in our next bill. Is there anything else we can do? We are both permanently disable and on strict fixed income. Our only joy is to watch TV. We have switched to LED lights for security outside; no lights at all inside as we head to bed at 8pm.

    Please advise if there’s something else we can do.
    Nowhere else to turn.

    1. Bill W

      Caulk house. LED TV. New clean AC filter. Insulate door jams and any openings. Keep blinds closed.

  47. Russell Wheeler

    By turning lights off and on does it make my bill higher

    1. Bill W


  48. charles brown

    make your bill lower

  49. Linda

    Thank you for educating the community.

  50. Patricia Bond

    Thanks for the useful information.

  51. Ursula Guzi

    Great article! Thanks :-)

  52. Ann White

    You are the BEST!

  53. Charles C Whittington

    I like the blog.

    C. Whittington

  54. Bob Berner

    I never signed up &/or approved tha $9.00 pm “voluntary Solar . . I can not afford ir, I want that money returned ! I will file a complaint in Tallahassee if my money is not returned ! NOW my bill is the 1st time that I ever owed you money !

  55. Richard

    I live in a five floor condo in Pompano. I would like to have an electric car. Can you install a power output beside my parking space (which is near the building) and associated extra meter??

  56. Richard

    I live in a 5 floor condo in Pompano. I would like to have an electric car. Can you install a meter and power point beside my parking spot (which is close to the building)?

  57. Jeffrey Natrop

    I was walking in Olde Naples and I noticed a large FPL electrical enclosure that appeared to have colored pictures of plant life laminated to the metal covers. I think it was on 3rd St and 5th Ave. Do you know where I can find this product.

  58. Steven Dewey

    What is wrong with FPL that the power flickers off at least once a month? It’s cause disruptions in internet, phone, and cable subscriptions. I have live in several states and this is the first one with such unreliable electric power.

    What is wrong with you?

  59. Marilyn

    How much energy do u use if tv left on night and day?

  60. John

    I would like to set up a monthly budget payment starting with Dec bill.
    We have cut air cond useage by 50% and cut pool pump on time by 30% and are in the process of installing a new water heater.
    Not planning to use pool heater that came with the house. We have a solar pool cover.
    We are full time and do not expect much company this winter.
    Can you estimate budget (12 month payments) based upon our limited time in residence?
    Thank you,

  61. Naomie Laguerre

    I’m not going to use any Christmas light decoration I’m not going to use that don’t put my bill up for nothing

  62. Phyllis Turner

    Whatever happened to the spot one could click on to indicate making a gift to your account to help low-income folks with their power bills? I can’t find anyplace to make an online gift.

  63. Larry S Ashby

    Why is the voltage on Palm Beach so low? 106V line to neutral and 196-202v line to line? We are losing 1ph. pump motors because of this. And its not doing our lighting system any good.

  64. Trinidad palacio

    No to happy wist my Bill to high

  65. RICHARD Y.

    i am a snowbird. Actually, I am less than a snowbird. The most I have been down was 6 to 8 weeks. It appears that my energy bill has hore than doubled in the last year. The months that i was there i expected the bill to be higher. When i compared an actual bill (about $30) when no one was there to this year when nobody was still not there, I am looking at $67. Did the rates go up? The only things that are left on are the AC and the refrigerator. I unplugged the tv’s, and other electric appliances that have clocks. (microwave, clock radio, etc)

  66. John Arenstam

    Can you tell me when FP&L will do the final inspection of my solar panel system and turn the system on? It has now been almost two weeks and I have not heard anything from FP & L. Please Help. Thanks,

  67. John Arenstam

    Can you tell me when FP&L will do the final inspection of my solar panel system and turn the system on? It has now been almost two weeks and I have not heard anything from FP & L. Please Help. Thanks,


  68. MARIA


  69. MARIA


  70. Ruben

    My home has R30 insulation in the attic I was planning on adding another layer of if but this time crossing it making like a t. Should I add more or not. Should I add R19 or more R30? I was visiting a friend on mine it Dallas and he has a lot more than R30 in his attic. Will it help adding more or is it not worth the money or the trouble?


  71. Kysha

    Trying to figure out why is my bill so high when I’m in a two bedroom apartment and it’s only the two of us. My neighbor has a three bedroom house with five people and a pool that always running and her bill is much cheaper.

  72. G Kiser

    Don’t usually read blogs.

  73. Gunnar Peters

    Good Afternoon, I just bought a condo in Boynton Beach. I was recommended by my agent. I’m looking for a short term energy deal. Preferably 3-4 months while fixing and flipping.

    Looking forward to hearing from someone soon.

  74. Ardith Evans

    Thinking of moving to Vero Beach, outside city. Average price of 2200 sq ft home with AC and pool filter? In NY our yearly cost is $2005.15

  75. Inez wilt

    I am moving and need the electric turned on in my new home. ButI need the electric left on in my existing home how do I go about that?

  76. Kathleen

    What should my thermostat and humidity be set at when we are not they in the months of Nov through May ?

  77. Julio Valencia

    Good morning,
    Ichanged my whole AC unit on September the fourth, the company told me I should see a decrease on my electrical bill by f around 40 to 50 dollars. I’m looking at my bill and it hasn’t decreased at all. The company who sold me the AC told me that this was an high energy efficiency unit.
    Why hasn’t my bill gone down?
    Thank you.

  78. Walter E Miedel

    I’m trying to pay my bill on line and I have a new card and the account took it without giving me a place to change it . So it will be going to a closed account .witch I don’t want to be billed for and a late fee

  79. Steve Jensen

    Who do I contact regarding concerns over my bill. My neighbors bill is around $130 and mine is $250, how can this be. We have similar houses and appliances. Nothing differs from the ordinary run of a household.

  80. Barbara Pickering

    How do I speak with a REAL person? or email FPL customer service without signing in? I do not have a US SIN no. (I’m Canadian) and cannot pay my bill in the usual manner because of your new phone procedure. Please help.

  81. Priscilla Bugari

    How or where do I request an outside light on my utility pole?

  82. Priscilla Bugari

    How do I request an outside light on my utility pole?

  83. Denise

    I would like to know why the code in Florida allows the street lights to be fiber glass poles that are only buried 12- 15 inches in sandy soil.
    they are not in cement or cemented and anchored into a metal plate. If we had been hit by the last hurricane or had more than 40mph winds these poles would have been on cars and driveways all over Marina Bay.
    One did fall down and several are not straight upright.
    Can someone explain the code and reasoning?
    I am told this is standard in the Gateway area.


FPL reserves the right to edit any user submissions to "Ask the Energy Expert" for brevity or clarity. Publication of readers' questions or comments is at the sole discretion of FPL.