Home Lighting Tips

The following tips can help you light your home efficiently and safely, saving energy and money:

  • When purchasing new lighting fixtures or bulbs, look for the Energy Star label. These are the most energy efficient models on the market and will save energy, money, and help the environment.
  • Replace incandescent lightbulbs. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs use much less power and last for years longer than incandescent bulbs. See the CFL Payback Analysis tool to estimate savings. Energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are also becoming more affordable and available. CFL and LED bulbs are more expensive to purchase but will provide substantial energy savings over their extended lifespans.
  • Turn off lights; this energy saving measure has been around since Edison first turned a light on, and it's as effective as ever. An incandescent bulb kept on 24 hours per day can cost as much as $70.00 each year.
  • Install switchplate motion sensors that turn lights off automatically when everyone leaves a room.
  • Invest in a timer. Timers that automatically turn lights on and off can reduce your energy use and at the same time increase safety by making a house seem occupied even when people are away.
  • Keep fixtures and bulbs clean. Dirt, besides being unsightly, can block or absorb up to 50% of the light.
  • Don't skimp on bulbs. Consider the cost of lighting your home; do you realize that the money you spend on light bulbs is probably only 5-10% of the total cost of lighting? The other 90-95% is the cost of electricity to run those bulbs. That's why you should look for more efficient rather than cheaper light bulbs, and why CFL and LED bulbs are smart choices.
  • More bulbs are not better. Use one bulb instead of multiple bulbs whenever possible. A single 100-watt incandescent bulb produces the same amount of light as two 60-watt bulbs, and uses 20% less energy.
  • Do you have light bulbs that are difficult to get to and a real pain to change? Long-life incandescent bulbs last two to three times longer than a standard bulb, while compact fluorescents and LEDs last up to ten times longer.
  • Light colored walls and surfaces reflect light while dark colors absorb light. The same light fixture in two different rooms will provide different levels of light on a reading surface. Consider this when choosing paint colors for a room.
  • Shades matter. Translucent lamp shades provide more light to a room than solid colored shades.
  • When unplugging lamps or lights, always pull on the plug and not the cord. Over time, pulling on the cord will damage the wiring inside and create a hazard.
  • Replace halogens with fluorescents. Halogen torchiere lamps can cost you 2-3 times its purchase price per year in electricity costs, and have been shown to be fire hazards. A compact fluorescent torchiere is safe, can look just as nice as a halogen one, and can save you over $30 per year in electricity costs.
  • Keep lights off during the day. Use daylight whenever possible, rather than turning on overhead lighting.

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