Saving money on your electric bills, part 3

It’s always great to save money, and when you can save it monthly, it’s even better. This is the third installment of ways to cut your electric bills. In the first blog, I talked about using motion sensing switches and timers to turn lights on and off to keep from having lights on when no one is using the areas where the lights are on.

In the second blog, I dealt with one of the biggest electrical expenses in your home, the water heater. If you have an electric water heater, it consumes 15% of your electrical use. If you place an inexpensive timer on the water heater you can reduce that expense substantially. There is no reason to heat your water while you’re asleep, on vacation or at work.

Today, I want to talk about another way to cut electrical expenses. Lighting in a home is always a continuous electrical draw. The cost of having lights on, combined with the costs of buying replacement lamps, is one expense that is continually present in most homes.

A typical A-line incandescent lamp costs about $.75 today. Depending on where they are made, you will change them more often or not. A good quality lamp will cost more than $1.00. Low-end foreign made lamps (and most incandescents are made out of the country) may only cost $.25, but you may replace them more often because of poor quality controls in foreign manufacturing facilities. The other drawback of incandescent lamps is that they are full on all the time. Once they are turned on, the power consumption is constant.

Compact fluorescents are an alternative to incandescents in that they last longer (10 to 20 times) and they draw less electricity once they are ignited. One negative side to CFLs is the expense.  They will typically costs 5-10 times the costs of an incandescent lamp. Another negative is their ability to cause some people health related problems, such as, headaches. Fluorescent lamps flicker at a very high rate. The eye may not see it, but the brain picks it up, and it can cause weariness.

They are also less likely to be dimmable if you want to use them in areas where mood lighting is warranted. More expensive CFL capable dimmers may change that, but the expense may not make that a desirable choice. I appreciate the money saving features of fluorescent lamps, but I don’t like the hue of the light they produce.

The newest and more desirable lamp on the market is the LED. Light emitting diode lamps are the newest and best re-invention of the lamp since Edison created his first lamp in 1879. The LED has a significantly longer life than both incandescent and fluorescent lamps. They consume considerably less electricity and produce an equivalent wattage at a lower costs.

The biggest draw back on LEDs is expense. A typical 60 watt equivalent LED will costs approximately $13. That’s the rub. The plus is that it will last around 50000 hours. A typical A-line incandescent lamp is rated at 1000 hours. If you think of it in those terms, a good incandescent lamp will cost you about $50 in replacement costs over 50000 hours. So, the savings could be $37 per lamp in your replace it with an LED.

The LEDs also burn cooler cutting down on the heat they radiate into your home. The light is more natural and comfortable than a CFL, and it is consumes less electricity overall. Some companies have also designed new recessed rings for recessed light fixtures that have the LED light built in. The cost of the rings is around $25 depending on the manufacturer. The life of these rings equals that of the independent lamps that can be placed in any light fixture.

LED is the light of the future. They provide a truer light than a CFL, and they last longer and costs less in the long run. If you’re thinking of simple ways to reduce your electric bill, consider changing your light bulbs with LEDs and see the difference. They can be purchased at most big box hardware stores and most general retailers.



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