Save Money by Switching to Energy-efficient LED Bulbs

by | Mar 28, 2020

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How many homeowners does it take to change a light bulb? Just one – and it could save you hundreds of dollars.

If you’re like most people, you probably have a bunch of old incandescent bulbs around the house. According to the EPA, the average American household has 50 light sockets, about 60% of which still contain a standard light bulb. Maybe you’re waiting until they burn out to replace them with a more energy-efficient option, which makes sense – 50 light bulbs is a lot to buy at once.

But what if spending the extra money on an energy-efficient bulb would actually save you money? Just how much energy do they really save, anyway? Is it really worth the effort?
To find out, we asked the home maintenance experts at Hippo Home Care to shed some light on the subject.

The dedicated team of highly-trained Home Pros provide preventive home wellness services, everything from changing smoke detector batteries to replacing HVAC filters to cleaning dryer vents, as well as identifying potential issues like leaky pipes. They also change thousands of light bulbs a week. Here’s what they had to say about making the switch.

Hippo Home Care Pros Say:

Changing standard filament bulbs to LED bulbs will save you money every year. You’ll also significantly reduce your chances of an electrical shortage or house fire.

The Bright History of the Standard Bulb

The humble light bulb was invented in 1879 by Thomas Edison, who tried more than 3,000 variations before finally patenting the electric lamp with carbon filament we use today. Over 140 years later, the vast majority of homes still use this same basic light bulb.

And why not? As a light source, incandescent bulbs are great. But have you ever accidentally touched a light bulb after it’s been on for a while? Incandescent bulbs get pretty hot, which is not only a safety hazard, it’s a sign that they’re wasting a lot of extra energy in the form of heat.

Fortunately, technology has advanced quite a bit in the last century and a half, and modern alternatives are not only more energy-efficient, they’re budget-friendly too. LED bulbs consume far less energy, costing much less to run than their incandescent counterparts. And the fact that they don’t heat up like incandescent bulbs means they last longer, so you don’t have to replace them as often. In fact, while incandescent bulbs usually last about 1,000 hours, or about a year of normal use, LED bulbs last 25 times as long. That’s about 25 years of use from a single bulb.

Some Light Math

To figure out how much you can save with LED bulbs, you only need to do some quick math. One standard 75-watt filament light bulb (the kind you might use in a desk lamp) uses 0.075 kilowatts per hour (kWh). At the average American rate of 15 cents per kWh, you would pay 1.13 cents for an hour of light from that bulb. Multiply that by 50 bulbs, and you’d pay about 57 cents an hour to have all of the lights on.

Did You Know?

Lumens measure brightness, so the more lumens, the brighter the bulb. LED lights are 75-100 lumens per watt, whereas the filament bulbs are typically only 13 lumens per watt.
Fifty-seven cents may not sound like much, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Every incandescent bulb in your home heats the gases inside to about 335° F – roughly the same temperature inside your oven when you bake a cake – dissipating about 90% of that heat into the room. The more heat the bulb loses, the harder it has to work, and the more energy it consumes. So the longer your lights are on, the less efficient they get.

Plus, all that extra heat puts a strain on your cooling systems, which may compensate by turning on the air conditioning. Running the AC more frequently could increase your bill from an average of $1.50 a day to around $3.50 a day. Over the course of a year, that bill would increase from $547.50 to $1,277.50.

Make the Switch

Not willing to spend an extra $700 a year on your electric bill for incandescents? Swap out those old bulbs for LED lights. You can buy LED bulbs at almost every major home improvement store for about $4 apiece, so even if you changed every bulb in your house, it would set you back about $2,000. While that may seem expensive up front, you won’t have to change the bulbs again for years and, depending on your AC system, you could recoup that in energy savings in no time. If you aren’t ready for a complete overhaul, just start with a few frequently-used lights. You’ll notice the difference right away, especially on your electric bill.
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