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When To Turn Off Lights

The cost effectiveness of when to turn off lights depends on the type of bulb and the cost of electricity. The type of light bulb you use is important for several reasons.

All lightbulbs have a nominal or rated operating life, which is affected by how many times they are turned on and off. The more often they are switched on and off, the lower their operating life.

Guidelines for When to Turn Off Lights

When to turn off lights for maximum energy savings depends on the type of bulb you're using and how long you'll be out of the room.Incandescent Lights

Incandescent lights should be turned off whenever they are not needed, because they are the least efficient type of lighting. 90% of the energy they use is given off as heat, and only about 10% results in light. Turning lights off will also keep a room cooler, an extra benefit in the summer.

Halogen Lights

Halogen lighting is more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they use the same technology and are far less efficient than LEDs and CFLs. Therefore, you’re better off to turn off lights that use halogen technology when you are not in the room.

CFL Lights

The cost-effectiveness of turning CFLs off to conserve energy is a bit more complicated, since they are already very energy efficient. A general rule of thumb to decide when to turn off lights and when to leave them on if using CFLs is this:

Out of the room for 15 minutes or less, leave the light on.
Out of the room for more than 15 minutes, turn the light off.

The operating life of CFLs is affected more by the number of times they are switched on and off. You can generally extend the life of a CFL bulb more by switching it on and off less frequently than if you simply use it less.

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The most cost-effective length of time that a light (or set of lights) can be turned off before the value of the savings exceeds the cost of having to replace bulbs (due to their shortened operating life) will depend on the type and model of bulb and ballast. The cost of replacing a bulb (or ballast) depends on the cost of the bulb and the cost of labor to do it.

In general, the more energy-efficient a light bulb is, the longer you can leave it on before it is cost effective to turn it off.

In addition to manually flipping the switch to turn off lights, you may want to consider using sensors, timers, and other automatic lighting controls to turn off lights automatically.

For more ways to save energy around your home, visit our category of articles under Myrtle Beach Energy Savings.

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