We’ve all been there. You’re sitting in your living room, moving as little as possible, and sweat is beading on your forehead. You know turning on the air conditioner is going to make your energy bill skyrocket, but it’s just so hot in your house that you’re thinking about eating the cost as long as it means you can have a little relief. However, while the heat outside might be the biggest factor when it comes to how uncomfortable your house is, there is another cause you’re probably not even thinking about. If you’re wondering what it is, just tilt your head back.
Incandescent lights give off heat as well as light energy. The higher the wattage of the light bulb the higher the temperature. A compact fluorescent bulb gives off very little heat energy because they do not use resistance and cause a light to glow hot. In a home or office, lots of incandescent lights mean that the air conditioner has to use more energy during the summer to remove the extra heat given off by lights.
Traditional incandescent light bulbs only turn between 10 and 15 percent of the electricity that runs through them into light. The rest of it? That gets put out as heat. It might not be that big of a deal if you’re sitting on the couch and reading a book with a single lamp burning, but the more lights you have on, the more heat you have filling your house. And while you can sit in the dark if you’re having a movie night, sometimes that isn’t an option.
Install More Efficient Lighting, and Your Costs Will Go Down Even if You Don’t Have Energy Efficient Air Conditioners
It should be mentioned that the excess heat isn’t a lighting problem, per se. It’s a problem with incandescent light bulbs, specifically. When you turn on the light, electricity runs through the filament. The filament resists, and heats up until it’s white-hot, which generates light. Most of the energy, though, is going into heating up the filament. While they’re a staple of people’s lives in the modern-day, it’s important to remember they were invented over a century ago. We’ve made a lot of progress in that time, and if you embrace that progress, you’re going to wind up with a much cooler house. Read the blog – AC Energy Saving Tips – to learn more energey savings
Take, for example, fluorescent light bulbs. They might look weird, compared to incandescent light bulbs, but they are a great deal more efficient. Five to six times more efficient, according to How Stuff Works. Even better, they don’t produce heat the way incandescent bulbs do, because they function off of a completely different kind of reaction. Light emitting diodes boast an even greater efficiency, and they can last for several years. LED bulbs are also built with a unique heat sink, which means they don’t radiate heat when they’re being used.
While both compact fluorescent light bulbs and LED light bulbs are more expensive than incandescent lights, it’s important to look at the lifetime of the bulb, and the advantages and disadvantages they provide. Incandescent light bulbs are fragile, not just because they’re made of glass, but because their filaments often break. Something as simple as shaking a bulb can snap the filament, rending it useless. Fluorescent lights don’t have that problem. Neither do LED lights, which is why they’re more commonly used in automobile headlights, where violent bouncing is the name of the game.
Lastly, though, it’s important to compare the lifetime of incandescent bulbs to the other options. Because, in addition to not putting out heat, these bulbs can last longer than it would take you to earn your bachelor’s degree. You might go through an entire pack of incandescent bulbs in that same time period. So don’t think of them as a more expensive cost; think of them as an investment in a cooler, more energy-efficient house.