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How To Save Energy With Wall Light Timers


Example of a basic wall mounted light switch timer.

The Levitron model as seen above enables you to select five times, up to sixty minutes

Wall light switch timers are an easy solution to the problem of lights getting left on. They automatically shut your lights off after a predetermined amount of time or depending on how many times the button as pushed, like the timer seen above. For busy families the problem of lights getting left on is a common one. When getting a busy family ready for the day there are going to be several lights left on in the home when everyone leaves. A wall mounted light switch timer solves this problem easily.

How Easy Is It To Install A Wall Light Switch Timer?

For those with basic electrical skills it takes about ten minutes to remove the old wall switch and replace it with a light switch timer. You first identify which breaker the circuit is on and turn that breaker off. Next you remove the wall plate with a flat head screwdriver and place it to one side. Next you remove the switch which often requires a phillips head screwdriver. Follow the instructions that came with the switch and hook up the wires as instructed. If you have a three way switch, meaning it can be controlled from more than one location, you will need a wall switch timer made for three way use.

How Much Energy Do Wall Light Switch Timers Use?

Compared to the amount of energy that is saved, wall light switch timers use a very small amount of power. It is usually less than one watt.

Will Wall Switch Timers Work With Compact Fluorescents?

Some models of wall switch timers are not compatible with compact fluorescent bulbs. I have used the Decora type, as seen above, with compact fluorescent bulbs in five locations in my home with no problems. Although it does not state that the switches are for compact fluorescent bulbs they seem to work fine. The Swylite brand programmable wall light switch timer as seen below is also compatible with all types of light bulbs within the wattage rating of the switch. Most motion operated light switches do not work with compact fluorescents so wall switch timers are an excellent alternative. Light timers work well with LED Bulbs. For more, see Advantages Of LED Bulbs

How Much Energy Does A Wall Light Switch Timer Save And What Is The Payback Time?

Before buying any energy saving device you should ask what the payback time is. Ideally you are used to turning off all of your lights manually, and never leave a light on. This is seldom the case in homes with busy families. It is difficult to figure how long any one light is left on but let's use the following situation as an example.

You have a light in the foyer of the home that is often left on. It is a conventional sixty watt bulb and is left on approximately twelve hours a day beyond the time when it is needed.

60 x 12 = 720 watts hours per day wasted. 720 watt hours x 30 days a month = 21,600 watt hours or 21.6 kilowatt hours.

21.6 kilowatt hours x 10 cents per kilowatt hour = $2.16 per month wasted or $25.92 per year.  Cost of switch: About $25

The above example does not account for the set run time of the timer switch, which may be a few minutes to over an hour but it gives us a good idea of how long it takes to pay for the switch.

In about a year you have paid for your wall timer switch. Imagine now if you replace ten switches in your home with wall switch timers. In addition to saving energy you are not spending as much on bulbs. The payback example above does not take into consideration the money you save from using fewer bulbs. Wall switch timers are truly a great green product because the payback is relatively short and they save both energy and light bulbs that often end up in landfills.

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