When you were a kid, chances are your parents nagged you to turn the lights off when you left a room. Whether you took their advice to heart or not, now that you're an adult yourself, you probably understand where they were coming from. Believe it or not, controlling your lighting usage can save you considerable money each month.
Stop right now and look around your home. Are there lights on in empty rooms? Do you have more lights on in the room you're in than you need? Could you change any of the bulbs to dimmer ones and still have sufficient light to complete the task at hand? Cutting back on unneeded lighting can lower your electric bill and put more cash back in your pocket.
Natural light is a free source of lighting that occurs every day. In cold months when the sun rises in the east, ensure that your blinds and curtains on that side of the house are open to allow the sun to light and heat the house naturally. Do the same in the evening as the sun sets in the west. Avoid using electric lights in the rooms during the time when they are lit naturally by the sun.
Although incandescent light bulbs have been the accepted source of indoor light for decades, compact fluorescent light bulbs are the new industry standard. Even though compact fluorescent bulbs cost more than their old-fashioned counterparts, their lifespan of 6,000 to 15,000 hours far exceeds that of incandescent bulbs at 750 to 1,000 hours apiece, and they use less energy.
Installing three-way lamps wherever possible in your home is another way to save on lighting costs. Instead of using one constant setting or selecting the highest one in a three-way lamp, consider how much light is needed and choose the correct setting for your need. Use the medium of high setting for reading and the low setting for lesser projects like watching television or conversing with family.
Wherever possible, install dimmer switches that allow you to adjust the brightness of ceiling lamps and lamps that are plugged into particular outlets controlled by the dimmer switch. Use the lowest setting necessary whenever possible.
Outdoor lights are another source that up energy usage costs. Rather than leaving outside lights on all night, turn them on only when needed. If safety is a concern, install motion-sensitive outdoor lighting that comes on only when activated. Installing timers that turn outdoor lights off and on is another way to prevent forgotten lights from using unneeded energy.
Believe it or not, just keeping light bulbs clean can improve energy efficiency and keep costs down. Dirt and grime that accumulates on light bulbs reduces the output of light and dims their luminescence. Clean light bulbs regularly with a soft, dry cloth, but only when they're turned off.
While lighting costs may not comprise the majority of your monthly energy bill, they are a constant, ongoing expense that you can reduce with just a little time and minimal effort. For more information, contact a local electrician.