Keeping up with the Joneses probably has its limits in one Delaware neighborhood this Christmas.
Britney Spears may have lavishly decorated her home in Calabasas, Calif., complete with twinkling lights and Santa's helicopter on her rooftop, but she is way behind the Fauchers of New Castle, Del.
For years, the Faucher family has gone the extra mile in Christmas decor, displaying about 1 million lights around their suburban home.
The website HouseLogic estimated that the family would spend $82,320 on electricity if they use the traditional C7 bulbs, using 5 watts each. One million of those multicolored lights could cost $686 per hour, burning four hours each night for a month.
Is that remotely possible? A spokesperson for Delmarva Power said a typical residential customer in Delaware around this time of year spends $135 a month for electricity, using roughly 1,000 kilowatt-hours. At that rate the Fauchers would be using more power than 600 average homes.
Rich Faucher, an electrician by trade, would not say what the family electric bill was, but said the $82,000 estimate is "not even close" to what he spends. He uses LEDs and mini-lights that provide "extremely energy-efficient lighting," he said.
Faucher and his wife, Linda, started the tradition in New Jersey. Driving with their infant daughter, they were frustrated they could not find any Christmas lights and decided to decorate their own apartment. The annual display evolved into a quest by the Fauchers and their six children to raise money for children's charities.