We often talk about ways that energy efficient HVAC systems can save you money, but did you know that replacing your old light bulbs with newer, energy-efficient types can make a significant impact on your monthly energy bills, too? According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, lighting accounts for ten percent of the electricity used in homes, which means replacing energy-wasting bulbs can have a real impact on what you pay each month.
Traditional incandescent bulbs were cheap to purchase, but they wasted a lot of electricity. That’s because those bulbs are much better at producing heat than producing light. In fact, traditional incandescent bulbs emit up to 90% of the electricity that goes into them as heat, rather than light. As a result, higher-wattage incandescent bulbs could actually have a significant effect on the temperature of a room. Here in the Tennessee Valley, where our biggest HVAC need is cooling, that could increase your energy bills in more ways than one!
Luckily, today we have much more energy-efficient options for lighting our homes. As alternatives to those energy-hogging incandescent bulbs, we can choose compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs or LEDs. Both CFLs and LEDs do a much better job of turning electricity into light, rather than heat, which means that they don’t need to use nearly as much electricity to produce the same amount of light as an equivalent incandescent bulb. And it means they don’t put out as much heat, so your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to keep up.
For example, according to Energy.gov, an Energy Star-qualified CFL bulb uses only 25% as much energy as an equally-bright traditional incandescent bulb. As a result, you’ll save about $6 per year for every traditional bulb you replace with a CFL. And that CFL bulb will last about ten times longer than a traditional incandescent one. That means when you’re comparing the prices of different bulbs, you should compare the cost of one CFL bulb to the cost of TEN traditional incandescent ones. That makes CFL bulbs seem like a much better deal, doesn’t it?
Likewise, an Energy-Star qualified LED bulb uses only 20-25% as much energy as a comparable traditional incandescent bulb, saving you at least as much money per month on energy bills as a CFL bulb. Plus, an LED bulb can last up to twenty-five times as long as an equivalent incandescent one! Again, a single LED bulb may seem expensive, but compared to twenty-five incandescent ones? That’s a bargain!
Whether you replace your old traditional incandescent lights with CFLs or LEDs, either way you’ll be saving money in the long run. And you’ll be making things easier on your air conditioner, which can save you money, too!