Non energy efficient light globe picture. Article about changing to LED globes to reduce electricity costs.

Changing light bulbs: The highlight of my week

My beloved and I have only been in our first house for about 4 months, 2 of which were spent just trying to keep our darling, sweetheart (read as turd) of a dog to stay in the yard.


That activity alone cost us about 4 weekends, 3 days of leave from work and about $1000! Which is why I’ll be writing a stand alone article about my darling, sweetheart dog… Which will be called “My Dog is a Turd”.


Now that she has settled in and isn’t trying to send us broke by destroying the gates on our yard everyday, I have finally had some time to think about what needs doing around the place to increase efficiency and decrease costs.


One of the very first things I noticed when we moved in was how hot the lights are throughout the house. We have 20 down lights throughout our house, 5 fluro T8 tube lights, 2 outdoor flood lights, and 2 standard edison screw lights. Additionally, we also have a lamp downstairs with a vintage type filament edison screw bulb.


What did we start with?

On the weekend I started to take out the globes to see what they are. The downlights are all 50 watt halogens, the bathroom light is a 60 watt halogen bulb, the fluros are all 36 watt T8 fluorescents, the spotlights are 120 watt Par 38 globes, the lamp is a 25 watt filament, and the edison screw over the stairs currently has an 8 watt CFL.


The use of the 50 watt, 60 and 120 watt lamps is just insane when you consider that lighting now makes up between 8% and 15% of average household electricity consumption… And therefore costs!


Our last quarterly electricity bill was for $420 (this excludes our gas bill), so if it remained consistent throughout the year, our annual electricity costs in this house would be $1680. 8-15% of this is $134.40-$252. Given the inefficiency of most of the globe choices in our house, I would think that we would be in the mid-upper reaches of these costs, so I’ll adopt $220 for current annual lighting costs.


Additionally, inefficient lighting options such as halogens and incandescents emit considerable amounts of heat, which explains a portion of the unbearable heat in my house on summer nights (well, that, and the fact I live in Australia!).


This is completely unacceptable; so I decided to do some sleuthing to try and find LED replacements for our globes. 


The options

Kmart had 7 watt non-dimmable GU5.3 LED bulbs to replace our current 50 watt halogen down lights on clearance for $5 each bulb. This worked out to be the same cost as the cheapest dimmable option at Bunnings.


Kmart also had 13 watt LED bulbs with equivalent lumens to replace the 120 watt par38 globe spot lights for $16. This was cheaper than the equivalent one I found at Bunnings by $11.95.


The lamp’s filament bulb replacement was $15 at Kmart, but it is only 2 watt vs the existing 25 watt that costs $10, and is almost as bright (edit: I later found some of these LED bulbs on clearance at Bunnings for $7.90, so I grabbed some for future replacement).


I replaced the bathroom light with a $10, 11 watt edison screw LED, which actually seems brighter than the 60 watt halogen that was there.


For the T8 fluorescent tubes, I had to go online to find an LED version. The cheapest option I found for branded (for reliability) T8 LED tubes that don’t require wiring-in was at Reduction Revolution.


Their cheapest option is $16.50, with a discount of 10% for ten packs. I went with a ten pack, so total cost delivered equated to $15.85 each.


Replacement costs

All up these replacements cost as follows:

No. of bulbs Bulb type
Total cost Wattage savings each
20 Downlight $100 43
2 Par 38 spot light $36 107
1 Filament edison $15 23
1 Halogen edison
$10 49
5 T8 Fluorescent $79.23 18 (+9 per start-up)


Total cost to replace all light bulbs = $240.23.


To keep things simple, I won’t calculate the lifespan savings associated with these LED’s vs their halogen counterparts (i.e. LED’s supposedly last 8-25 times longer than their halogen equivalents). I will simply look at the wattage consumption.


The savings

If my downlights are now using around 20% of what they were, and my floodlights around 10% of what they were, and my lamp around 10%, and my bathroom light around 20% and my T8’s around 45%, then given how we use each light type, I reckon it’s safe to say we’ll save at least 50% of our annual lighting bill.


Therefore, I should expect my next electricity bill to go down by at least $27.50 each quarter (based on usage costs calculation of roughly $220 per year as per the above) if we simply continue to use our lights as we have been.


This will pay for my new bulbs over two years, and then put me in the positive for savings over the remaining lifespan of the globes (potentially up to 11 years from installation given how many hours we use our lights for a day and variable for each bulb type, if lucky).


As we are trying to reduce our energy consumption and are therefore picking our lowest wattage bulbs to turn on and only using light when we need it, I reckon our lighting savings could be closer to the 75% mark… But, let’s not get too carried away just yet! You’ll just have to stay tuned to see how our electricity bills pan out over the next year!


Cheers, TFC.

Posted in Frugal Living and tagged , , , .

The Flawed Consumer is a Gen Y consumer that is on a mission to achieve wealth simply by changing spending and lifestyle habits.


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