Home Home & Garden Do Light Dimmers Save Energy: A Cost Benefit Analysis

Do Light Dimmers Save Energy: A Cost Benefit Analysis

by Thomas Kanze

Light dimmers are a hot topic in the energy conservation debate. Some people believe that they do save energy, but others disagree and say they actually raise your electricity bill. So who is right? Let’s dive deeper into this controversial topic to find out!

Some people claim that by using a dimmer, you can reduce your electricity bill because the light bulb will use less energy when it’s at half power than if it were fully on all of the time. However, others believe that dimmers can actually raise your electricity bill because you’re using more energy than before.

The truth is, it all depends on the kind of light bulb and how old it is. If you have a very new incandescent light bulb (or any other type for that matter), then switching to a dimmer will probably save some money as it will use less energy throughout the day.

However, if you have an old incandescent light bulb (or any other type for that matter), then dimming your lights can actually increase your electricity bill as it makes the lightbulb work more intensely over time and wear out faster than before. For this reason, we recommend not using a dimmer with an older lightbulb.

Of course, there are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to use a dimmer such as the kind of bulb you have and how long your lights usually stay on for. To save energy in most cases, we recommend shutting off lights whenever they’re not being used and replacing old bulbs with new ones.

Regardless of whether or not you use a dimmer, always remember to shut off your lights whenever they’re not being used! Dimmers are only effective if the light is on, so by turning them off when you leave home or go to bed will save energy and money in both situations.

How does dimmer technology work?

Dimmers operate by periodically cutting the amount of power to a light bulb. They do this at rates that are imperceptible to humans, so they can lower or increase the overall brightness of the room without first having you change your dimming settings.

There are different kinds of dimmers which use either:

  • Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)
  • Triac.

Pulse Width Modulation is the most common kind of dimmer used in homes, which works by intermittently reducing power to a light bulb at high speeds that are imperceptible to humans. This can be done using chips called “MOSFETs”, which conduct electricity only when they receive an electronic signal. The MOSFET interrupts the flow of electricity to light bulbs at regular intervals, usually every few milliseconds (up to 20 times per second).

The Triac dimmer is less common because it does not work with all types of lights. It uses a device called a “Triac” which can control alternating current voltages. The Triac dimmer works by switching off the voltage to a light bulb. This causes current flowing through it to stop as well, so there is no longer any power being supplied at all.

If you have a home with older incandescent lighting, then it’s likely that your lights will work best on either the pulse width modulation or triac dimmer circuit. If you’re unsure, check to see which kind of bulb is used by looking at its packaging.

If you have newer LED lights, then make sure they are compatible with your dimmer switch by checking the manufacturer’s packaging.

Also check to see if your light switches support both types of bulbs (triac and PWM). This is done because some smart home devices can communicate using either technology. If you don’t want to manually switch between dimmers, then make sure this is done automatically by your smart home hub.

Why use a light dimmer?

There are several reasons why you might want to consider installing a light dimmer switch in your home:

Energy Efficiency and Savings: Installing a new LED or CFL (compact fluorescent) bulb will save you a lot of money on your electricity bills. Dimmers can help to maximize the energy savings from these types of bulbs by allowing them to emit less light when necessary (e.g., during daylight hours). In other words, if your exterior lights are only needed for a few hours each night, then it’s best to drop them down in brightness. This will make your exterior lights less bright during the day (when they’re not needed), but you’ll still get sufficient light at night when you do turn them on.

Long Bulb Life: LED and CFL bulbs last up to 20 times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs, but they still burn out eventually. Dimming technology can help to increase the lifespan of these types of lights by allowing you to turn them on and off more frequently without risk of burning them out.

Reduce Glare: If your exterior lighting creates too much glare (which is often the case with halogen and metal-halide bulbs), then dimmers can help to reduce this by cutting down the amount of light emitted.

Improve Quality: Dimming technology offers a range of benefits and has been shown to improve quality, such as increasing color rendition (the ability for your eyes to recognize all colors in an image).

Mood Lighting: Dimming lights is also a great way to create an inviting ambiance in your home or if you’re having guests over for the first time, then dimmers can help to make your home appear brighter and more welcoming.


To conclude, by switching to light dimmers in your home, you can save money on energy costs. The savings depends on the size of your house and the type of bulbs that are used. However, for most people who use lamps regularly throughout their homes, there is a clear benefit from using these switches over standard wall switches or even more traditional three-way switches.

If you are currently not using light dimmers, there is really no reason to wait. They are easy to install and will start saving you money right away!

Related Posts

Leave a Comment