Author Topic: Light Fight  (Read 2875 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Light Fight
« on: November 14, 2013, 05:07:22 AM »
When we renovated our kitchen, the electrician put in Seven recessed lights in the ceiling. They have CF light bulbs.  We also have a one bulb light over the sink and over the table.
My SO is in the habit of flicking on the seven light switch and leaving it on at all times.  It makes me crazy. It has a dimmer but that is not effective with the CF bulbs.
I am looking for a way to have them on a timer? or somehow cause them not to stay on all day and night.  I am a little intimidated by messing with electricity, but I suspect it is less scary than I fear.
If this works, I would like to automate shut off of all the lights in the house that seem to be left burning for no reason.  Our electric bill is staggering and must be addressed through mechanical means because no one else here seems to get the connection between waste and debt.


  • Bristles
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Re: Light Fight
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2013, 05:17:36 AM »
A timer is a nice idea!

One caution is that CFLs don't do well when they are turned on and off frequently. I have some that started burning out within a year of installing and was told that this was most likely the reason they burned out so quickly. I'm saving up to replace these with LED bulbs which don't have this issue and that have the added benefit of being dimmable.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Light Fight
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2013, 05:26:48 AM »
In the meantime, could you unscrew one of them, in the hopes that your partner won't notice, and you will be using less electricity?  Then maybe unscrew another...


  • Stubble
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Re: Light Fight
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2013, 06:10:54 AM »
We had CFL's in our recessed kitchen lights.  They kept burning our because of the heat - CFL's are not the best choice for recessed lighting. I finally replaced them with LEDs which I love even though the flood style lights are still so expensive for LEDs.  Replacing your light switch with a time isn't overly complicated. You can watch a few you tube video's about the process. I think the hardest part is making it all fit back into the little box when you are done connecting the wires.

meadow lark

  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Light Fight
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2013, 07:45:27 AM »
What is the wattage on the 9 bulbs?  You could replace them with all with CFL's that are actually 11 Watts - they say "equivalent to 40 watts" on them.  Then realize all 9 of them equal one 100 watt bulb, and stop fighting with your SO b/c that is not a big deal.
   Light bulbs are mentioned as a quick way to reduce your electric bill, but. They really aren't that big of a deal.  You are annoyed over pennies.  What matters is your refrigerator, dishwasher, AC, hot water heater, dryer (if those are electric.). And of course, just having a big house.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Light Fight
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2013, 08:31:36 AM »
I am not a big CFL fan in general, though we use them throughout the house. They are temperature sensitive, contain mercury (and I broke one in the closet one day), are susceptible to early burn-out from normal use - i.e. turning them on and off frequently, and just look weird. I love what CREE is doing for LED consumers and am eagerly watching prices decrease.

On to your question - you can buy a timer switch and swap out your normal 2-way or 3-way pole switches very easily. If you've never done electrical work before, there is a handy little tool that you may want to pick up first. It's called a non-contact AC voltage detector, costs from $10 - $15 for a low-end model and you can consider it a $15 insurance payment to ensure that you have the right circuit turned off at breaker box. Youtube is awesome for watching someone else step you through a DIY project, just be safe and thorough in your work as electrical work can obviously be dangerous to your health and bad/sloppy electrical work can be a fire hazard.


  • Stubble
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    • Milwaukee Maven
Re: Light Fight
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2013, 09:40:26 AM »
I've run the calculations using 12cents/kwh, and over 10 years, you won't find much savings no matter what you do.

You are looking at about MAYBE 100 dollars over 10 years.  Switching to LEDs will actually cost you more money over 10 years, unless the price of energy goes way up, or the price of the led bulbs goes way down.

In the meantime, just make sure they are off before you go to bed, and try not to think about it too much.  As said before, try not to switch them on/off so much as this does wear CFLs out faster.

You're cost saving efforts are much better spent in other areas!