How to Save on Your Monthly Electric Bill By Installing Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

How to Save on Your Monthly Electric Bill By Installing Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

Installing energy efficient light bulbs is one of the easiest ways to reduce your monthly electric bill. By replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs, you can significantly cut down on energy costs over time. Here's what I learned about how to save money by switching to more energy efficient lighting.

Why Energy Efficient Bulbs Save Money

Traditional incandescent light bulbs are very inefficient - they waste a lot of energy by producing heat instead of light. Energy efficient bulbs like LEDs and CFLs use significantly less electricity to produce the same amount of light.

For example, an old-fashioned 60W incandescent bulb produces about 800 lumens of light but uses 60 watts of power. A comparable LED bulb only uses 9-12 watts to produce the same 800 lumens! By switching to LEDs, you can reduce the lighting energy use by 75% or more per bulb.

Over the lifetime of the bulb, an LED will save you hundreds of dollars in electricity costs compared to an incandescent. CFL bulbs also use about 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. So both LED and CFL options will save you significant money on your power bills.

Calculating Electricity Savings from Efficient Bulbs

To figure out exactly how much you can save by switching to energy efficient bulbs, you need to do a little bit of math. Here are the steps:

  1. Find out your electricity rate per kWh from your utility bill. For example, it may be $0.12 per kWh.

  2. Determine the wattage of your current bulbs and the equivalent wattage of energy efficient options. A 60W incandescent might be replaced by a 9W LED.

  3. Calculate the yearly operating cost of each bulb type:

    • Incandescent: 60W x $0.12 per kWh x 1,000 hours/year = $7.20

    • LED: 9W x $0.12 per kWh x 1,000 hours/year = $1.08

  4. Multiply the potential savings per bulb by the number of bulbs you plan to replace.

For example, replacing 10 incandescent bulbs with LEDs would save you $61.20 per year! Those savings really add up over the 10+ year lifespan of LED bulbs.

Choosing the Right Energy Efficient Bulbs

When shopping for new bulbs, here are a few key things to look for:

Dimmer Switches May Need Replacement

If you have dimmer switches controlling lights, you may need to replace them to be compatible with LED and CFL bulbs.

Older dimmer switches were designed for incandescent bulbs. Using them with LEDs can cause problems like flickering and poor dimming performance.

Newer LED compatible dimmers have wider dimming ranges that work well with energy efficient bulbs. Swapping the dimmer switch solves any compatibility issues and provides better dimming control. Expect to pay $15-30 for a quality LED dimmer.

Benefits Beyond Electricity Savings

There are a few other benefits to switching over to LED and CFL lighting:

Upgrading your home's lighting to energy efficient options is one of the smartest ways to reduce your electricity usage and monthly bills. Just be sure to do the math to calculate the potential savings based on your rates and bulb replacements. The long lifespan of LED and CFL bulbs will repay your investment in energy savings many times over.