When the new year rolls in, we all make a few resolutions, and, as usual, some are more realistic...
How Much Money Can I Save by Installing Smart Lighting in my Home?
People switch to smart lighting for several reasons, but saving money is definitely at the top of the list. Energy saving features, such as using an app to control your lighting, makes convenience another one of the big selling points. That said, the question is whether smart lighting costs more or less than traditional lamps and fixtures in the long run. You need to ask yourself: “How much money can I save by installing Smart Lighting in my home?”
The Cost of Lighting
Lighting has changed in the past few decades, and we've moved from nearly all incandescent lighting at home and fluorescent bulbs at work to a world chock full of CFLs and LEDs. Developed to save energy, CFL (compact fluorescent lights) and LED lights have taken over. We know smart lighting is sold on its energy efficiency, but the real question is whether we are measurably saving money, either individually or collectively.
As of this writing, the average Washington, D.C. household spends about $130 on electricity every month. This breaks down into 1020 kWh at a rate of .13/kWh ($130 = 1020 kWh x.13 kWh). As a homeowner, one can't do much about the cost of electricity, so the common desire is to reduce the average number of kilowatt-hours used monthly.
First, smart lighting uses LED lighting, and most homes without LED lighting use incandescent bulbs. A single, 60-Watt light bulb used 5 hours a day will cost $1.19 per month – multiplied by the number of bulbs in the house. LED lights use only 7 Watts and cost approximately 30 cents per month, demonstrating that LEDs are roughly 75% more efficient than incandescent bulbs. CFLs fall in the middle.
In an average family of five with two parents and three kids, odds are there's more than one light on all the time. Consider a home that has 3 or 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, a sitting room, and perhaps an office or a playroom, each with at least one light. With fewer hours of sunlight in the winter, those lights are even more overworked every day. Seven or more rooms in the house filled with active people can add up to as many as 5-7 hours per day, per light. A rough 50 hours per week with incandescent bulbs comes to $59.50, whereas an LED light costs only $15; the savings really do add up on an annual basis: $44.35 monthly or $532.20 by the end of the year for a household using LED lighting.
Comparing Costs of Bulbs
The initial costs of smart lighting might seem a little daunting at first. Incandescent bulbs are generally less than $5 each, but smart bulbs range in cost from around $8 each on the low end to more than $90 for high-end items. In the example of the aforementioned family, you’d need a minimum of 10 lights plus 3 more bulbs for the lamps. Taking this a step further, if you opt for a $20 smart bulb, that's $260 for 13 light bulbs. However, you’d start experiencing savings on your electric bill at a rate of 2.5 bulbs per month. Despite the initial outlay, considering that LED bulbs can last from 10,000 to 50,000 hours, Smart Lighting pays for itself in no time.
A number of related accessories, switches, and remotes are available, for additional convenience. Some are incredibly versatile, such as Pico Smart Switches, which can be installed anywhere: on a wall with a cover plate (which looks like a normal switch), or in a switch box. There are stands available for these switches as well, and even a car visor clip, in case you want to turn on the lights from your vehicle.
There are a variety of lighting kits you can purchase that bundle several items, such as a switch or dimmer, a remote, and a wall-plate adapter; there are also kits available that include hubs; please inquire with your Wilcox professional team as to what items or kits will best suit your family’s needs.
Hire a Professional for Your Smart Lighting Installation
When installing a smart lighting system, don't rely on a YouTube video or your buddy next door. Call Washington D.C.’s Best Electrician of 2022, Wilcox Electric. Our trained professionals are highly experienced with smart home lighting, and we look forward to setting up yours.