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Dimmers and Motion Lights: Can They Save you Money?

written by: Ciaran_john•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 9/30/2010

As summer draws to a close the nights get darker a little earlier and people start using their lights more. Electric bills can soar during winter and people looking for ways to reduce consumption often wonder what to do. Dimmers save money according to energy companies, but how much ?

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    How Do Dimmers Save Money ?

    Once the sun sets many people just leave their house lights on until bed time unaware of the impact that electric lights have on their utility bill. Government estimates suggest lighting accounts for 15 percent of the average utility bill. During high consumption months lighting contributes $50 or more to many families bills. Unless people are engaging in activities like reading that require full lighting, most people could function with less bright lighting. For this reason, many wonder, "Do dimmers save money?"

    Dimmer installation offers an easy way for people to save money and still operate with adequate lighting. These switches control the flow of electrical current to light bulbs and when a dimmer is turned down it decreases the flow and reduces the amount of energy being used by the light bulb. Dimmer switches can be easily installed in place of light switches by people with some basic knowledge of electrics and a few tools. Most dimmers have a dial which determines the level of lighting from maximum brightness to no lighting at all. People relaxing in front of the TV can dim the lights by about 10 percent without noticing a huge difference but they would reduce their energy consumption by about 10 percent if they did so consistently. Dimming lights by 75 percent could reduce electric costs by up to 60 percent and cause light bulbs to last 20 times as long. Dimmer switches also help parents with kids who insist on sleeping with the lights on. Firstly the dimmer allows them to reduce the electric flow and hence the utility bill but it also creates a darker environment where the child is more likely to fall asleep.

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    Motion Sensors Reduce Electric Bills

    People looking for ways to reduce costs often start in the kitchen by doing an inventory of the pantry but one way to cut costs without skipping meals involves motion sensor installation. After meal time many people stay out of the kitchen but turning the lights on and off is a chore that is often over looked. So, just as people wonder, "Do dimmers save money," they also wonder, "Do motion sensor lights save money?"

    Motion sensors control the lighting so that when no one is in a room the lights automatically shut off but when someone enters a room they come back on. They work well for people with small kids who cannot reach light switches or people who have to use walkers who typically leave lights on to avoid the trouble of constantly turning the switch on and off. Motion sensors also work well outside houses both as front door lighting and exterior lighting to deter burglars from approaching the house.

    Motion sensors generally turn lights on at maximum power so people who remember to always turn light switches on and off might find that their good habits reduce electric bills more than motion sensors do. Dimmers save money better than motion sensors in rooms that are usually occupied but motion sensors are ideal for garage's and bathrooms.

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    Good Housekeeping: Lower Your Light Bill And Save Energy

    Dimmers: Dimmer Switches