How to Save on Electricity Costs By Installing Low-Watt Lightbulbs Yourself

How to Save on Electricity Costs By Installing Low-Watt Lightbulbs Yourself

Installing low-watt lightbulbs in your home is one of the easiest ways to reduce your electricity usage and save money on your monthly energy bills. With just a few tools and a bit of time, you can replace your existing bulbs with more energy-efficient options and start seeing the savings immediately.

Why Low-Watt Bulbs Save Electricity

Traditional incandescent light bulbs waste a lot of energy in the form of heat. On average, 90% of the electricity they use gets converted into heat rather than light. This makes them extremely inefficient. Low-watt bulbs like LEDs and CFLs convert most of the electricity into light, so they require significantly less power to produce the same amount of brightness.

For example, a 60-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced by a LED bulb that only uses 8-12 watts. By installing lower wattage bulbs, you'll reduce the amount of electricity needed to light your home. Since lighting accounts for around 15% of an average home's electricity use, switching to low-watt bulbs can lead to noticeable savings on your utility bills.

Determining the Right Low-Watt Bulbs for Your Home

When selecting replacement bulbs, you first need to determine what light output you need. Look at the wattage of your existing bulbs and choose new bulbs that provide similar lumens (brightness). For instance, a 60W incandescent could be replaced by an LED bulb that provides 800 lumens. Refer to the lighting equivalence chart to compare wattages and lumens.

You'll also want to choose the right light color, or color temperature. Most LED and CFL bulbs come in warm white (2700-3000K), bright white (3500-4100K), or daylight (5000-6500K). Warm white is closest to the yellowish light of incandescents. Daylight is bluer and more energizing. Pick the option that best fits each lighting application.

Finally, the size and shape of the new bulbs should match the fixtures you're putting them in. LEDs and CFLs come in standard bulb sizes like A19 and BR30. Be sure to get the right type for table lamps, recessed ceiling lights, and other fixtures in your home.

The Benefits of LED vs CFL Bulbs

Both LED (light-emitting diode) and CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulbs are good low-watt options, but LEDs are superior in several ways:

While LEDs have a higher upfront cost, their incredible efficiency and longevity make them the better long-term investment. Focus on LEDs for the bulk of your upgrades.

Safety Tips for Installing and Replacing Bulbs

Here are some key safety precautions to take when installing new light bulbs:

Taking basic safety measures will prevent electrical hazards and injuries while upgrading your lighting.

Steps for Installing Low-Watt Light Bulbs

Installing energy saving light bulbs on your own is a simple process:

  1. Determine what types of bulbs you need. Take inventory of all your light fixtures and note the bulb type, wattage, lumen output, and color temperature.

  2. Purchase new LED or CFL bulbs. Buy bulbs that match the specifications of your existing bulbs based on the lighting equivalence chart. Purchase from local home improvement stores or online retailers.

  3. Turn off lights and allow bulbs to cool. Turn off the light switch and allow any bulbs that have been on to cool down for at least 10 minutes before handling.

  4. Remove old incandescent bulbs. Gently turn bulbs counterclockwise to remove them from the socket. Do not twist the glass itself. Handle bulbs only by the base.

  5. Install new low-watt bulbs. Align the base pegs with the socket holes and gently turn clockwise until snug. Do not overtighten.

  6. Turn on the light switch. Test that the new bulbs work and provide sufficient lighting. Adjust any dimmers to optimal brightness.

  7. Recycle old bulbs if possible. CFLs should be recycled. Many municipalities also accept incandescent bulbs.

And that's it! Just repeat the process for each lighting fixture in your home. You'll immediately start saving electricity and money.

Realizing the Savings from Low-Watt Light Bulbs

Once you've upgraded all of your home's lighting, you should begin to see noticeable monthly savings:

Monitoring your utility bills gives you tangible evidence of how much installing some low-watt light bulbs on your own pays off. Just be sure to replace all of those energy hog incandescent bulbs!