How to Lower Your Electric Bill by Changing Light Bulbs
Why Change Light Bulbs to Save Money?
Changing the light bulbs in your home to more energy efficient options can significantly reduce your electric bill. Here’s why:
Traditional incandescent bulbs are very inefficient – only about 10% of the electricity they use produces light, while the other 90% is turned into heat. This wastes a lot of energy.
LED and CFL bulbs are much more energy efficient. They use up to 75% less energy than incandescents to produce the same amount of light. This saves electricity and money.
Electricity to run lighting accounts for about 15% of an average home’s energy bill. Simply switching bulbs can reduce this lighting cost significantly.
Better bulbs also last much longer – LEDs can last 25 times longer than incandescents. This reduces replacement costs over time.
How Much Money Can You Save by Switching Bulbs?
The amount of money you can save depends on a few factors:
- The types of bulbs you currently use and how often they’re on
- The types of energy efficient bulbs you switch to
- Electricity prices in your area
Here are some estimates on potential savings:
Replacing a 60W incandescent bulb that’s on 3 hours per day with a similarly bright LED can save about $3-$5 per year.
Switching a 75W incandescent used 5 hours a day to a CFL can save around $10 per year.
Replacing all incandescent bulbs in a typical home with efficient bulbs can save more than $100 per year.
To get a customized estimate, use an online lighting cost savings calculator and input your local electricity rate and usage.
Which Types of Energy Efficient Bulbs Should You Switch To?
Two of the most popular and cost effective options are LEDs and CFLs:
- Use at least 75% less energy than incandescents and last 25 times longer
- Provide a nice warm glow and excellent light quality
- Perform well in cold temperatures and damp locations
- Cost more upfront but last years longer to offset the price
- Use 75% less energy and can last 10 times longer than incandescents
- Provide good light quality when used properly
- Cost less upfront than most LEDs
- Contain a small amount of mercury (safe if bulbs are recycled properly)
LEDs are generally the best option, but CFLs can also provide great savings at a lower initial cost. Avoid cheap LEDs though, as light quality and longevity can suffer.
Tips for Maximizing Savings When Switching Bulbs
Here are some tips to maximize the energy and cost savings from switching to LED and CFL light bulbs:
Prioritize frequently used lights – start with bulbs that are on several hours per day
Check lumen output, not wattage – Lumens indicate brightness. Choose LED/CFLs with lumen output similar to old bulbs.
Dimmable LEDs work best with dimmer switches, while CFLs have limited dimming capability
Install bulbs properly – poor electrical contacts can affect performance and lifespan
Combine switching bulbs with adding occupancy sensors, smart switches, etc to further enhance savings
Take advantage of utility rebates and discounts – many offer these to encourage efficient lighting
Recycle old incandescent bulbs and CFLs containing mercury (LEDs are not hazardous)
With smart choices and proper installation, switching light bulbs can be one of the fastest and easiest ways to cut your electric bill significantly. The savings can really add up over time.