Second Nature's Tips for an Efficient Home Part One: How to Pay Off your Car by Changing your Light Bulbs

LED bulbs are great for efficiency.

Here at Second Nature, we love to help make your home more efficient in any way we can. Which is why we’re so excited to bring you our miniseries “Second Nature’s Tips for an Efficient Home.” Below is the first installment. Enjoy!

139 years ago, Thomas Edison secured his legacy as one of the greatest inventors in American history when he introduced the world to a functional producer of artificial light: the light bulb. This invention, a heat-based lamp that released light as a by-product, became what we know today as the incandescent light bulb.

Now it’s probably a good thing that Edison isn’t around to read this blog because he might be pretty upset about where it’s going. While the incandescent light bulb has been a fixture in homes throughout the world, the fact is that it really sucks. It sucks a lot of energy, and it sucks a lot of money out of your wallet. In fact, 90% of the energy released by an incandescent light bulb is emitted in the form of heat, meaning only 10% of what you pay for your lighting is actually going towards light. The rest is waste.

Enter LEDs

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. (Incandescent doesn’t stand for anything. It’s just a big word.) The actual inner workings of an LED are relatively complicated when compared to an incandescent light bulb. Suffice it to say that some electrons get together, do a little dance, and light comes out. If you’d like to read more about it, click here. The result is the production of light in an incredibly efficient manner. LEDs are by far the most efficient lightbulb commonly on the market today, and they also last by far the longest.

An LED light bulb typically has a lifespan of 25,000 to 100,000 hours, with the potential to last even longer. 100,000 hours is almost 100 times the standard lifespan of an incandescent. 100,000 hours from right now is January of 2030. Who knows what the world will look like in 2030, but your LED will still be going. So not only does the energy efficiency save you money monthly on your bills, but it saves you money in the long run on purchasing light bulbs. So how much money do these fancy LEDs actually end up saving you? Let’s look at an example.

We’ll use relatively standard industry values to say that your incandescent light bulbs produce light at 13 lumens per watt. (Lumen is a measure of visible light, while watt is a measure of electricity.) The LEDs that you’re considering produce light at 65 lumens per watt. Now let’s say you have 50 incandescent light bulbs at an average of 60 watts in your house for an output of 39,000 lumens, and you expect their daily usage to average out to 6 hours a day per bulb. With all incandescents, you could expect to use 3,000 watts to light your home. LEDs will drop that total to 600. At an average rate of 12 cents per kilowatt/hour, you will be paying $2.16 per day for lighting before your LED switch. After, you can expect to pay only $0.43 per day for a daily savings of $1.73, a monthly savings of $53.63, and a yearly savings of $643.56.

$643.56 is a lot of money to save on something as seemingly insignificant as light bulbs. That’s your final car payment, or a brand new laptop, or one college textbook, or more than 600 potatoes. Not sure why you would need to get 600 potatoes, but with LED light bulbs, you can.

In a world where every penny counts, something as simple as switching the light bulb you use can add up to some enormous savings. You might look at an LED next time you’re in the store and want to scoff at a light bulb that cost six to eight times that of the cheapest one in the aisle. Like many home utilities, air filters included (hey! That’s us!), spending more on the individual purchase can ultimately save you money in the long run. You won’t be scoffing when you pocket $600+ each year that would have gone to the electric company.

Alec Lower

Content Writer

Alec is a third-year member of the team at Second Nature. He brings expert knowledge of a myriad of home air filtration topics including HVAC filters, filtration efficiency, and indoor air quality.