The cost of Christmas: Lighting for your home

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Holiday decorating can be expensive, especially when it comes to lighting your home. David Roberts has been putting up one of the largest displays in Hidden Valley for more than a decade. This year he says he's spent about $2,000 on lights.

"But there are some years where I only buy one string of lights," Roberts says. "It's hard to tell."

The bill that always increases for him is his electricity.

"It goes up about $75," Roberts says.

For those people with less extravagant displays, NV Energy Program Manager Chad Piekarz says customers won't see that large an increase.

"Christmas lights don't use that much energy," Piekarz says. "If you're having a Griswold Christmas you could affect your bill."

NV Energy offers customers free energy assessments.

"They'll take a look at everything, especially if you are having concerns," Piekarz says.

Roberts started putting his display up in October and has put in more than 300 hours of work. For professional installation, Christmas Decor by Signature Landscapes says it takes about four to six hours for an average house with 100 lights.

Lighting Manager Tim Scott says one of the biggest differences between installing lights yourself is safety.

"We've had a couple of guys fall this year and get injured," Scott says. "When you get to two three and four story houses and everyone is hanging on... it's a dangerous job."

But Roberts, now 70, shows no sign of changing his holiday game plan.

"As long as everyone puts up a string of lights, that's all that matters," Roberts says.