Now that the holidays are here, exactly how much free time do you find yourself with…? If you’re like me, there’s a long list of things to do and buy, punctuated by weeknight parties, school recitals and end of year reports at the office.
With the rush, the bustle and the outright fatigue, people can fall into one of two camps. The first group, after doing a beautiful job decorating, can’t even manage to get home before 9pm to turn their lights on. The second group, inundated by cleaning or wrapping or writing out cards, collapses into bed and forgets to turn their lights off, wasting energy and irritating neighbors.
You can save time, energy and hassle while maximizing enjoyment of your outdoor masterpiece by picking up a few holiday light timers. These handy little gadgets cost only a few dollars and can last for years. There are multiple styles that can range in price based on their features. Below is a guide to some popular models.
Single Device / Single Time Timer
This most basic model allows you to set one predetermined on/off time for just one device, like a strand of lights.
Multiple Device / Dual Time Timer
A dual time timer allows you to set two distinct on/off times for two or more devices. These are especially handy for decorations that include audio. Your neighbors don’t need to hear ‘Frosty the Snowman’ for five consecutive hours each night for the next month.
Digital timers can accommodate multiple devices and very specific settings, since they rely on digital technology rather than pins. Some units can be programmed to turn a single device on and off at different times, depending on the day of the week. These models are more costly, but can be effective if you wish to leave decorations lit longer on special evenings or during the weekend.
Photo-sensitive timers are some of the easiest to use because they require no programming at all! The unit senses when the sun goes down and turns decorations on automatically. The potential downside is that these timers only shut decorations off when the sun rises in the morning, meaning whatever is plugged in remains on all night. Consider photo sensitive timers for hard to reach accent decorations, like an over-the-garage wreath.
In addition to saving time, energy and money, automatic timers pack an added benefit: home security. Putting exterior and interior lighting on timers can give would-be burglars the impression that someone is home, even if your family is over the river and through the woods this holiday season.
Have a timer tip you’d like to share? Post it in the comments!