Ever wondered how much you’re spending on lighting your home? Well, it all depends on what light bulbs you have. Lighting can account for up to 20% of a typical UK electricity bill(1), and with more of us working from home than ever before, it’s time to make the switch to energy saving light bulbs. Let’s have a look at what bulbs are available and how you can choose the right ones for your home.
What are energy saving light bulbs?
Once upon a time, all the light bulbs found in your home would have been old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, which worked by heating a wire filament until it glowed. The problem with them? They use a lot of energy to produce light, with up to 90% of the energy they use being given off as heat. So now there are several types of energy saving light bulbs available:
Halogen light bulbs.
These light bulbs have a capsule inside them that holds gas around a filament, which is designed to increase the efficiency of the bulb. They come in a range of shapes and colours and can be used with dimmer switches. However, there are more efficient options out there.
Compact fluorescent lamps.
Got some fluorescent light tubes in your garage? Well these are that, just miniaturised. They come in a range of light colours and use about a quarter of the energy that an incandescent light bulb uses. They’ll also last about 10 times longer.
Is it just me or does this bring back images of physics classes at school? They pass an electric current through a silicon diode component, and are the most efficient types of light bulbs of the three. Plus they can last up to 30 years.
Can energy saving light bulbs save you money?
In short, yes. While energy saving bulbs are more pricey than incandescent bulbs, they’ll start saving you money as soon as you start using them. Replacing one 60w incandescent bulb with a CFL bulb can reduce your electricity bill by around £7 a year, and LED bulbs could save almost £7.50 per year(2). Which is good if you switch one bulb, but great if you switch ten.
They can also help reduce your carbon footprint. It’s estimated each bulb can save around 2,000 times its weight in carbon emissions during its lifetime(3).
Which energy saving light bulb should you choose?
We recommend choosing either a CFL or LED bulb as they are the most energy efficient. Halogen light bulbs just aren’t up to scratch when compared with the other two. While you’ll end up paying more for these than you would for an incandescent bulb, don’t be put off, they’ll save you money in the long run.
What about using energy saving bulbs with dimmers?
Although the packaging on your light bulb should tell you what mount it is, whether it works with dimmers and if it contains nuts, some dimmer switches may not work with the latest bulbs. For example, CFL and halogen bulbs should work with most modern dimmer switches, for LEDs however, you might need to upgrade your dimmer switch to cope with low electrical loads. If you’re not sure whether it will work, give your local electrician a call.
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