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How Much Money Can You Save by Turning Off the Lights?

on August 25, 2017

This week, we’re bringing to you energy-efficient tips for the home to show what you can save by turning off the lights. Every home is equipped with tons of lights. Some rooms have just one while others, like the kitchen and living room, may have three or four. If you were to count all the lights in your home, you’d probably end up with a pretty large number. That’s because without lights, we wouldn’t be able to perform daily routines as efficiently, like getting ready for the day, cooking, cleaning, reading, etc.

While lights are certainly useful – and necessary –, they can also be a drain on your electricity bill when you aren’t a good steward of them. A really easy way to lower your monthly energy costs is by making a habit of turning off the lights when you’re done using them. How much you’ll save depends on a few factors, which are:

  • The type of lightbulb
  • The cost of electricity (measures as cents per kilowatthour or kWh)

According to the US Energy Information Administration’s report of August, 2017, Idaho is below the US average for cost of electricity at 10.63 cents per kilowatthour against the US 13.19 cents/kWh. Here’s a breakdown of each type of bulb and how the average homeowner can save on energy costs with respect to the kind they use.

Incandescent & Halogen

If you use mostly incandescent bulbs, you’re likely paying more on your energy bills, and would benefit the most from turning off your lights when you leave a room. Incandescent bulbs give off 90 percent heat and only 10 percent light, so as an added benefit, turning them off also keeps your room cooler.

While halogen lights are slightly more efficient, you will also see a higher return from flipping the switch to off.


There is a popular belief that turning off compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) for short periods of time uses more energy to start them back up. With Energy Star, however, that is not the case. If you keep an Energy Star bulb off for 5 seconds or more, you are saving more energy than it takes to turn back on. On the other hand, with CFLs, the more you turn the light on and off, the shorter the light bulb’s lifespan becomes. Without doing the exact math, a general rule of thumb for CFLs is this:

If you are leaving the room for 15 minutes or more, turn the lights off. If your absence will be less than 15 minutes, it’s okay to leave the light on. (See the Department of Energy for more information.)


Luckily, when using light emitting diodes (LEDs), energy usage and lifetime are unaffected when switching on and off. LEDs reach full brightness almost instantly, and save the most energy out of all of the aforementioned lights.

How Much Money Can You Save by Turning Off the Lights?

Start with your bulb’s wattage. For example, if a bulb is 60 watts, it uses .06kWh. If you turn that light off every day when you leave for work (8hrs/day, 5 days/week), you can save 2.4kWh/week. Using our state’s average energy rate, 10.63cents/kWh, that means you can save 25.5 cents/day which adds up to $13.27 in one year, just by turning off one light every day. This may not seem like much, but think about all of the lights in your home that you leave on. The longer you keep them off, the more money you save.

When every penny counts, turning off the lights can certainly help! To save even more energy and money, check out these energy vampires to avoid in your home! For all your electrical needs, consider Mainstream the best company for the job! Call 866-411-9277 or schedule online.

Choose Smart! Call the Company with Heart! 866-411-ZAPP (9277)

For more information on home and business electrical inspections, HVAC and furnace services, or plumbing service throughout Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, visit Mainstream Electric, Heating,  Cooling, & Plumbing online.

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