Lighting your home accounts for around 16% of your hydro bill over the light summer months and for even more when winter sets in. There are many innovative ways to reduce your lighting bill that won’t involve you yelling at the kids to turn off the lights.
CFLs or LEDs?
So the obvious start to slashing your lighting bill will be to change out your lightbulbs. Advances in technology mean you won’t be switching your warm incandescent lights for cold, blue LEDs. Instead, a wide range of warmer colours are available in CFLs and LEDs. Here’s a comparison of lighting options to help you choose the best one for your home.
CFLs: Compact fluorescents are certainly more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they contain mercury which can be harmful to you and your family should the bulb break. They also qualify as hazardous waste and will have to be disposed of at a drop-off center so as not to pose a threat to the environment. Some manufacturers are phasing out these bulbs because of their mercury content. CFLs are not compatible with most dimmer switches.
LEDs: Light emitting diodes (LEDs) last from 20,000 to 50,000 hours, but they do cost a little more than CFLs. However, they contain no hazardous substances, so they can be tossed into the garbage can. While the initial investment is a little higher, LEDs use less energy than CFLs so you’ll save more on your hydro bill in the long run.
Replacing all the bulbs in your home can be an expensive endeavour. Consider replacing just the five lights you use most and save about $70 a year. You can save up to 75% of your lighting bill when you replace your incandescent bulbs with LEDs.
Replace your conventional switches with dimmer switches in areas where you can afford to have lower lighting like the living room and dining room. Dimming your lights will help you save on energy. If you don’t want to install dimmer switches, consider bulbs with lower wattages.
Insulate Switch Plates
Some homes have no insulation behind switch plates which means that your conditioned indoor air is leaking out through a hole in the wall. You can test your switch plates by holding your hand over the switch on a cold day. If you feel a little draft, you may need to install foam gaskets behind the switch plate.
Brilliant for security and energy efficiency, occupancy sensors turn the lights on and off for you. Motion-activated or thermal-activated switches can tell when you walk into a room and will turn the lights on and off again when you leave.
Use lamps to put light exactly where you need it most. Lamps in corners are better as the light is able to reflect off the walls.
Use solar lamps to light pathways and outdoor areas.
Keep your lightbulbs and shades clean as this will let more light shine though.