are your light bulbs robbing you?

You know that leaving the lights on in your home is bad for your wallet and bad for the environment. It’s bad for your wallet because it causes your electricity bill to go up and it’s bad for the environment because it wastes energy unnecessarily. But did you know that your lights can actually be bad for both of those things and your HVAC system? It’s true!

If you’ve still got traditional incandescent bulbs in your house, you could be spending more on your bill each month. Now, is it much more…no. But, if you’ve got a whole house full of incandescent bulbs, then you’re in no position to be arguing dollars and cents!

What? How?

Incandescent bulbs work by actually burning a small filament inside of the bulb. The bulb itself is filled with a gas that allows the filament to continue to burn and glow without flaring out immediately. That’s why the bulb gets so hot when you touch it (and coincidentally how Easy Bake Ovens work!)

Ok…So What?

Well, the heat you’re giving off in that bulb is causing your HVAC, and in particular your AC system, to work harder. Now, it’s not very much harder certainly. The amount of heat each light bulb is giving off is quite small. But, if you are using regular old bulbs all throughout your home, that can add up. They can also raise the perceived temperature on your skin, which will make you feel hotter than you really are.

I’m sold. What now?

There are two great options out there.

CFL Light Bulbs

CFLs, or compact florescent light bulbs, are the ones you see in the store that are curved and shaped like U’s or corkscrews. They were some of the first energy efficient bulbs to hit the market and as such, they are some of the cheapest. They can drop your bill by as much as 80% over the course of a year when compared to the use of a regular light bulb. Whoa! Problem is, they still give off quite a bit of heat and aren’t quite as efficient as we’d like. Also, they tend to look a bit funny and can contain some harmful substances if they’re broken.

LED Light Bulbs

LED’s are the next evolution in light technology. They do warm up, but very little because the light itself is about the size of an eraser. An LED or Light Emitting Diode is simple a small semiconductor that, when connected across a channel with its pair, emits light. They’re extremely efficient and can cost pennies a year to run. Better still, because there isn’t actually anything burning, they can light up in a variety of different colors.

Many modern LEDs come with remotes or operate with your home automation system. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so don’t worry about finding one to fit that weird, random light fixture you have in your bathroom. LEDs are also the best option for landscape lighting by far.

With a bit of work and a small upfront investment you can put a little less stress on your HVAC system and a lot  less stress on your electrical bill.