Cut Your Electrical Use for Lighting by Over 80%




Introduction: Cut Your Electrical Use for Lighting by Over 80%

So many people are looking for ways to save energy, both in terms of money and environmental impact.

Here is a quick and cheap way to cut the electricity you use for most of your household lights by over 80%

Step 1: Identify Locations

Any light in your house that has base on the ceiling like the one pictured, or another edison base (screw in bulbs), can be converted.

Step 2: Install the Socket Adapter

 Screw one of these into the socket. 

Most hardware type stores will have them. We bought one from Rona Cashway for $6.76

Step 3: LED Christmas Lights

Plug the string of LED Christmas Lights into the adapter.

You can use any size of string, the one we used was a 4 watt multi-colored one. We are going to be picking up some of the 2 watt white ones though.

Arrange the string of lights around the base how you want, perhaps in a star pattern or spiral. 

Step 4: CFL Bulb

Screw the CFL  Bulb into the socket. 

Again, the size is up to you, we are using 13 watt ones ourselves. 

Step 5: Enough Light to Read a Book!

 Now, when you turn the light switch on as normal, only the LED lights will come on.

This gives you enough light to see as you are moving around and such....

In our first conversion (our bathroom), you can read a book while sitting on the toilet with just the LED's going.

If you need more light....

Step 6: When You Really Need to See...

All you do is pull the switch chain on the socket adapter and the CFL comes on.

When you are finished, pull the chain to turn it back off, and then the light switch as you leave the room.


Step 7: All Thats Left Is to Save Money!!!

 In our example of our bathroom this is how we figured it.

A person uses the bathroom an average of two hours a day. At least 75% of that time, they don't need a lot of light for what they are doing.

So, in our home of two people, figuring 2 hours per person per day, 30 days a month, 365 days a year, with electricity at $0.15/kWh, this is what the different options work out to.

100W Incandescent = 12kWh or $1.80/month, 146kWh or $21.90/year
23W CFL = 2.76kWh or $0.42/month, 38.58kWh or $5.04/year
4W LED/13W CFL (75/25)  = 0.75kWh or $0.11/month, 14.24kWh or $1.37



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    16 Discussions

    It appears that you have 30 to 40 4 watt christmas lights, but you are counting them as one 4 watt bulb. This is about as inefficient as you could be. You receive very little illumination from this set-up yet it consumes 30x4watt (120 watts) if there are only 30 bulbs. 40 bulbs would consume 160 watts of power (40x4=160).

    1 reply

    Perhaps you should learn to read before typing. It would help avoid you looking like you are commenting just to waste people's time.

    The string of lights are LED lights, and if you had bothered reading the instructable, you would have seen that the whole string is indeed 4 watts.

    This is a better idea then most people would think! We live in a great old house (est. very early 1900's) but unfortunately it's in an area that isn't the most perfect. So having a porch light on all night is a must.

    We found that using the very small LED rope lights up around the inside of our porch overhang runs MUCH less energy then just one regular light bulb! It looks so much better and actually lights the whole area in a soft light rather then a harsh one.

    We've done the same as you by using the socket adapter.

    This got our neighbor thinking and she is now using a string of LED cool white Christmas lights as her "porch light" - placed up within the overhang.

    She said she's noticed a reduction in her utility bill since doing so, which is what we are all aiming for. Less energy used for what we need to see/light!

    what can you see in that low illumination? can you read or work with it? doubt.

    Thanks. With the cost of LED lights coming down and the quality going up, you could just skip the whole CF altogether.

    Something we learned from this and similar projects is that people tend to want as much light as possible for most things they do around the home, including just walking around.

    Once you start using a low light for a general light source with specific area lighting for things that really do need a lot of light, you start realizing how silly the 'normal' way is.

    It's been a very long time since I needed a light on to find parts of my body, so even a tiny bit of light is more then enough to use the washroom most of the time. Of course when standing at the mirror and doing things, you would want brighter lights, but even those, don't have to be as bright as we currently think... IF the other lights around the house aren't overpoweringly bright.

    Good points all .I just was able to replace a single dated overhead fixture that had two 60 watt incandescent bulbs with three single bulb "yard sale " fixtures and put 7.5 watt LED bulbs in them . Now I have light more evenly distributed in the long room and using 97.5 less watts for about the same amount of light . I'm still going to use christmas lights I just don't know if I want to buy them now or wait till they go on clearance after Christmas .

    check ebay, you will find strings of LED lights in just about every combination you can think of... ones that have 10 LEDs and are powered by AA batteries, to plug-in 100 stringers like this one;

    Interesting! I like not having to turn the CFL on and off all the time. Just a thought - even a little light can go surprisingly 'farther' in a white space. Our garage was a dark hole until painted white. The difference in visibility was amazing. Some white paint might be worth it.

    1 reply

    The color of the surroundings is a huge aspect in how much light you need in an area.

    Bright. reflective colors (with white being the best), will do more to cut down on needed light for sure.

    Next someone will be complaining about the benefits of frosted glass bulbs over standard christmas lights. :) very nice idea. I often times shower in the dark because I don't really need the light for anything. ( I am also usually waking up and don't want alot of light) This is a great Idea

    Assuming you have a CFL, how many years of savings would it take to make the "upgrade" to LED christmas lighting worth it?  

    4 replies

     Just thought I would add...

    If you were going from a 100W incandescent to this set up, buying everything, it would breakdown like this.

    13W CFL =  $2.00 to $5.00  (we'll use $3)
    4W LED  =   $5.00 to $9.00 (we'll use $7)
    Adapter  =  $5.00 to $9.00 (we'll use $7)
    total = $17.00

    Saved per year over the 100W incandescent = $20.53 per year, so just under 10 months...

     I think it would benefit you greatly to shop around more.

    -The market down the street sells the 13W CFL bulbs for $0.25 a piece.

    -I've never seen those adapters cost more than $2.00 ( I use them for Halloween/Christmas decorations)

    -You can LED lights REALLY cheap during an after Christmas sell

    I think it would benefit you to realize that if I put the absolute lowest prices I could find for these things, I would be constantly being told by people that they couldn't find them at those prices...

    You saying this, just proves that you can't satisfy everyone.

     That would depend on what you paid for the adapter and the LED lights.

    If you are just adding the adapter and LED and keeping whatever CFL you have, figure out what it would cost to run the it for the year, multiply that by .25 and add in the what it would cost to run the LED string for the other 75% of the time.

    For us, we went from the 23W CFL to the 4W LED/13W CFL, which saves $3.67 per year. So figure the $6.76 for the adapter and the $8.00 (a guess) we paid for the LED lights at christmas it would be slightly over 4 years.

    There is more to consider then just that though.

    A CFL has around 10,000 hours of life (by rating), however, if they are cycled on and off within a few minutes , in the case of a 5 minute on/off cycle the lifespan can be reduced by as much as 85%. 

    So, any place you set this up, the quick on off cycles are going to be handled by the LED's saving that wear on the CFL., as well as the fact that you will only be using the CFL for 1/4 of the time, means it should last its full rated life, which is spread out over 4 times longer