It’s something that was drilled into my head as a kid: “Turn off the lights when you leave the room! You’re wasting electricity!”  But is that just a thing dads say? How much truth is there to the claim?  My sister was convinced it took more electricity to turn the lights on and off. Who is right?

Lighting accounts for roughly 9% of a home’s energy use. According to Energy Star, the average home includes forty light bulbs. With energy costs increasing, it’s time to find out the truth.

Dad was right. Turning off the lights does save money.

Yep. As much as we might hate to admit it, dad’s advice checks out. 

Not only does turning off lights when not in use lower your electrical bill, but doing so also allows your bulbs to last longer which means you’ll buy new bulbs less frequently. Double win! 

Save more with energy-efficient bulbs

Not all lightbulbs are created equal! Energy-efficient LED bulbs cost more upfront than incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL), but last significantly longer. Choose this powerful lighting option and you’ll maximize your savings over time. 

Additionally, much of the energy output from incandescent bulbs creates heat. During the summer, that means your air conditioning will have to work harder to keep your home cool. Increased AC use also increases your electricity bill. That’s another reason to use LEDs bulbs.

Different bulbs, different light output

All the numbers on lightbulb packaging can get confusing. One way to simplify things is to look at lumens, or the amount of light a bulb puts out. The more energy it takes to produce light, the less energy efficient a bulb is. 

For example, a 60-watt incandescent bulb puts out roughly 800 lumens of light. You can get that same 800 lumens from a more effficient 13-watt CFL bulb or an 11-watt LED bulb. Learn more about how to select the best lightbulb for each room in your house here.

Sister was right too… sort of

When it comes to LED and incandescent bulbs, you should always turn them off when you leave a room—even if you are going to come back just two minutes later. 

That’s not necessarily the case for CFLs as frequent on-and-off use can shorten their lifespans. For this reason, most experts recommend using CFL bulbs in places where they will be on for at least fifteen minutes. 

How much does it cost to leave a light on for 24 hours?

Energy is measured in watts. Energy costs vary by location, but we can use 13 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) as an example to illustrate how lightbulb choice and usage affect cost. 

Let’s say you have a sixty-watt incandescent lightbulb in your bedroom. 

1 bulb x .06 kilowatts (60 watts/1000) x 13 cents/kWh x 24 hours = 19 cents per day. 

That doesn’t sound like too much, and most lights don’t stay on for 24 hours (we hope), but considering the average home contains 40 light bulbs, you can see how things can really add up over the course of a year!

Other reasons to turn off the lights

Turning off the lights isn’t just good for your wallet. Doing so also reduces your carbon footprint which is good for the environment. 

Less use means less energy you’re pulling from the local power grid. And that certainly adds up when spread over thousands of households. It’s just one more thing you can do to keep our planet healthy.

Technology to the rescue!

Want to do better with turning off lights, but can’t seem to make it happen manually? Good news! With technological innovations like timers, motion sensors, dimmers, and smart lighting controls, you can get the results you want.

These allow you to make the most efficient use of your bulbs and extend their life expectancy. Installing and configuring these modern tools yourself can be tricky, so just give us a call if you need assistance.

Every little bit helps

With costs on everything from electricity to food rising each day, it’s important to do what we can to save money. Small changes like remembering to turn off the lights when you leave a room can make a big difference! 

Looking for other ways to save on your electric bill? We’ve got you! Check out:

10 ways to save on your electrical bill in the winter.

11 ways to save on your electrical bill in the summer.

If you’re looking for professional assistance to maximize your Marietta or metro Atlanta home’s lighting and energy efficiency, reach out today.