We used to all know that the best way to save money on your electric bill was to use less electricity. And we did this by turning off devices when not in use. The more dedicated among us may have turned off surge protectors, cutting off the flow of power to an electronic item completely.
Sure, that method will save you a few pennies here and there. But if you have lamps in your home (and I suspect you do), you can save money on your electric bill by replacing the bulbs.
This tip requires an initial investment, but Dylan Hacker of YouTube channel HouseholdHacker assures us that it’s worth the trouble. His video, “7 Money Saving Life Hacks You Should Know,” recently featured on JustDIY.com, concludes with the big reveal about light bulbs.
Switch Your Bulbs to Lower Your Electric Bill
“LED bulbs cost more initially, but their power requirements are drastically lower than their incandescent counterparts,” Hacker explained in the video. “They can last up to 50 times longer. It cost about 10 times more to run an incandescent bulb than an LED bulb. By paying a bit more on the upfront cost, you could swap out your old bulbs and make money back in just a couple of months.”
Hacker reports saving 40% on his electric bill after making the switch.
A quick Amazon check shows a price of about $6.50 for a pack of four GE-brand 60-watt bulbs — we’ll use GE as our example brand here, just for price comparison). Switching those four bulbs to GE LED 11-watt bulbs (the LED equivalent of 60 watts) will cost about $30.
Nervous about shelling out for a houseful of new bulbs? “Many power companies will offer rebates when you make the switch over to energy-efficient products such as LED bulbs,” Hacker notes. Some companies will have this information at front and center online; if you don’t see rebate information, try calling your provider to see if there’s a program in place.
CFLs or LEDs?
In some areas, incandescent bulbs are being phased out of production, making way for CFL bulbs. CFLs are recognizable by their curlicue style, and an eight-pack of 13-watt GE Energy Smart bulbs (the 60-watt replacement) costs just $12 to $15. CFL bulbs use about 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer, so they’re still a great choice if you’re looking out for the environment and your electric bill.
So why use LED bulbs at all? They last three times longer than CFLs, Sarah Battaglia explains at The Energy Collective. “Comparing the electricity cost for one year, you’ll see that you could save about $10 by switching from incandescent to LED,” she explains. “Now that doesn’t seem like much, but once you increase the timeframe to 15 years, and factor in how many bulbs you’ll need during that time, you will notice that an incandescent will cost you almost four times as much as an LED.”
Remember, Hacker says that LED bulbs last 50 times longer than incandescents. That’s a lot of light bulbs over the years.
Our take for your savings bottom line: If you’re willing to spend more now, invest in the LED bulbs. If you’re nervous about switching, move to CFLs while you wait for LED bulb prices to go down.
Visit Just DIY to watch the whole video of money saving hacks from HouseholdHacker.
Your Turn: Have you switched your light bulbs? Did you choose CFLs or LEDs, and have you noticed a savings?
Lisa Rowan is a writer, editor, and podcaster living in Washington, DC.