5 Tips to Save Money with Your Lighting

Image of LED lightbulb being installed

Just like that daily stop at your local coffee shop, little electrical expenses can quickly add up. Before you know it, your hydro bill is higher than ever, and you’re stuck scratching your head trying to get to the root of it. While keeping a residential or commercial building lit comes at a cost, there are ways to minimize these expenses. Here are 5 ways you can save money with your electrical services today:

1.    Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

While energy efficient bulbs aren’t new on the market, you may be surprised just how any people still use outdated bulbs. According to BC Hydro, incandescent bulbs “remain the mostly widely used type of bulb in BC,” outnumbering the more energy efficient LED option.

Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs became popular as an energy-efficient alternative to Thomas Edison’s original incandescent bulb back in the 1970s. However, both incandescent and CFL bulbs have been discontinued in Canada and are no longer being manufactured due to their negative environmental impact.

What makes LED the best option environmentally? For starters, LED bulbs are an energy efficient alternative to traditional bulbs, as they don’t use gas to emit light. Rather, LEDs use technology like a cell phone or microwave where electrons move around a semiconductor to light up. Furthermore, LED light bulbs have the longest lifespan. While traditional incandescent bulbs last between 750 to 1,000 hours and CFL bulbs up to 8,000 hours, many LED light bulbs last up to 50,000 hours. At nearly 50 times the lifespan of traditional options, you’ll save money on the bulbs alone.

How much of a difference does a bulb make to your electrical costs? The average home has 40 light bulbs, which makes up for roughly 20 percent of your utility bill. If these 40 bulbs aren’t optimized, your bills can increase significantly. Here’s a breakdown of the cost to run different bulbs in the average home:

  • Incandescent Bulb. You’re likely not leaving every light on in your home. If you are, see tip #2 immediately. Let’s say you have 10 incandescent bulbs turned on for one extra hour per day. This adds $24 to your lighting bill per year.
  • Fluorescent (CFL) Bulb. An extra hour per day running 10 CFL bulbs will add $6 to your lighting bills ever year.
  • LED Bulb. If you leave 10 LED light bulbs on for an extra hour per day, this will add an extra $5 to your lighting bills every year.

While this may not seem like a drastic difference, it’s still money you could be saving from a simple switch from incandescent to LED. Combine that with the lifespan and green benefits, it’s a no brainer why LED bulbs are the gold standard of lighting.

2.    Turn Down the Lights

This may seem obvious, however, there’s more to switching off the lights than you may think. While you may reach to switch the light out every time you leave a room, you may be unintentionally shortening the bulbs lifespan. Every time you switch a light on and off, the operating life of the bulb decreases. So next time your child seeks entertainment by flipping the kitchen switch on and off, remember that this fun comes at a cost.

This pertains particularly to CFL bulbs which are more expensive to replace. Rule of thumb for CFL lights is if you’re leaving a room for more than 15 minutes, switch them off. However, if you’re going to need the light in less than 15 minutes, it’s more cost effective to use the energy and save the life.

When it comes to LED bulbs, turn the lights off. This keeps the room cooler and decreases energy costs. With their superior lifespan, you’re still saving more by limiting energy use than the cost of replacing bulbs.

3.    Dimmer Switches

By controlling the brightness of the lights in your home, you’re decreasing your energy consumption and lowering costs. As energy is measured in watts, dimmer switches allow you to control the wattage and illumination. For high wattage rooms such as bathrooms, dining rooms, and kitchens, your home electrical bills can be minimized. Electrical contractors can install this system into your home to save you money and energy.

4.    Optimize Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is great for convenience and security. However, running these all night is neither energy efficient nor cost-effective. To optimize your outdoor lighting, consider installing lights that use motion detectors. Combine this with LED bulbs that are durable and well-performing in colder climates, and you’ll have the most cost-effective outdoor lighting available.

5.    Professional Electrical Services

While you can save money with LED bulbs, dimmer switches, and limiting the amount of energy you use, it’s vital that your electrical system has been approved by trained electricians. If you’re thinking a quick DIY installment of a dimmer switch will save you money, think again. Electrical work is not only finicky but dangerous. Trying to complete a job that you’re not trained to do can compromise your safety and result in higher repair costs.

You can hire a professional commercial or residential electrician Vancouver to install money saving systems into your building safely, quickly, and efficiently. Contact our team at BPM Electric for a quote on your services!