Lighting tips for fall and winter
Try these lighting tips to help manage your energy use during the long nights in fall and winter.
Fall and winter in Vermont mean dark mornings and evenings. This shortage of light, in turn, means your lights are on longer, and this could start to add up on your utility bills. It is important to make sure that you are doing what you can to minimize usage and that your bulbs are as energy efficient as possible.
Use outdoor lighting only when needed
Outdoor lighting is a great way to help keep your home safe and secure, especially as nights get longer. But leaving exterior lights on over-night can be costly. You can try to make a habit of turning off outdoor lights before going to bed at night, but another solution could be to put these lights on timers or motion detectors to automatically turn on and off only when you need them. Motion detectors are also an effective way to deter overnight theft or crime.
Consider solar lighting fixtures for the outside of your home. Outdoor lighting products with photocells or photo sensors allow lights to come on only when the sun is down. All ENERGY STAR® qualified outdoor fixtures come with photocells or photo sensors.
Dim the lights to maximize energy savings
Dimmers let you adjust the feel of a room for mood or activity. Dimmers reduce power to the lighting source or bulb, so they save energy and can extend bulb life. You can choose full light when you are active; choose midlevel light for movie and popcorn time. Lower lights in the later evening hours to transition to bedtime.
ENERGY STAR dimmable LED bulbs are already very efficient, so investing in a dimmer can maximize your energy savings. If your current dimmer switches are more than 5 years old, you will need to replace them with ones that are compatible with LED technology. Older dimmer switches work well with incandescent lightbulbs, but when used with dimmable LED lightbulbs, they can cause the light to flicker instead of dim gradually. Remember, not all LED bulbs are dimmable. Look on the package to confirm.
An electrician can easily replace your existing switches or dimmers with products that work with newer lightbulb technology. It can be a fairly straightforward to do-it-yourself project as well.
Switch bulbs in high use places
Switch to ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs in the lights you use the most to prepare for darker nights this fall and winter. If you don’t have the resources or time to replace all the bulbs in your home, you’ll enjoy savings from switching one ENERGY STAR LED bulb. This single step will be one of the best you can take to save money on lighting.
Advancements in light-emitting diode (LED) technology and falling prices have made LEDs the light bulb of choice in homes. ENERGY STAR LEDs are energy efficient and have light color characteristics like incandescent light bulbs. See our guide: How to choose the best quality LED bulb for more information.
Start in the kitchen
Winter is a popular time for cooking and baking in the kitchen. If that’s true in your home, then it’s a great place to replace incandescent lightbulbs with ENERGY STAR LEDs. LEDs last longer than other bulbs, so they’re perfect for hard-to-reach lights that are frequently left on. You will climb your ladder less often to replace them and save money on energy.
Recessed ceiling lights are a common type of kitchen light fixture. They are also known as high hats or can lights. Sometimes a simple bulb swap to quality ENERGY STAR LEDs is all you need to start saving. However, affordable kits are also available for you to install or replace the entire recessed fixture.