You may recognize that as your home gains heat, your air conditioning efficiency decreases. However, you may not realize that your indoor lighting can play a role in that heat gain. As you explore ways to achieve utility bill savings during the summer months, it’s time to re-think the light bulbs used in your home.
Heat Gain and Incandescent Lighting
According to energy experts, incandescent bulbs waste a lot of electricity. In fact, 90 percent of the energy used by an incandescent unit is expended as heat rather than light. As much as 10 percent of residential electricity usage is attributed to lighting, and the majority of that energy translates into heat being released into your home. The cooling capacity of your air conditioning equipment is determined in British thermal units per hour, and the heat released by a 65-watt incandescent bulb creates an output of more than 200 BTUs per hour. While various factors are involved in the calculation of a home’s total heating demand, it is helpful to recognize that more bulbs represent a greater load for your cooling system.
Reduce Indoor Heat with Efficient Light Bulbs
CFLs, compact fluorescent lamps, use only 25 percent of the energy required for an incandescent model. These units also produce only 25 percent of the amount of heat given off by incandescent bulbs. Additionally, a CFL can last between five and eight times as long as a traditional bulb, meaning that in addition to utility bill savings, it is possible to reduce the money spent on bulb replacements. There can be some environmental concerns with CFLs due to the fact that they contain a small amount of mercury and can smoke or catch fire.
An LED light uses only 10 percent of the electricity needed to operate an incandescent bulb. While LEDs do produce some heat, this is absorbed by a heat sink rather than being emitted into the indoor environment. The life span of an LED is approximately eight times that of a CFL and up to 40 times that of a traditional bulb. While LED bulbs are somewhat more expensive to purchase, the savings on both utilities and replacements are significant.
Additional Options for Lowering Your Cooling Load
Hollub Heating is available to provide an energy assessment as a starting point for determining the most effective options for reducing your home’s cooling load and improving your air conditioner efficiency. Call us for an appointment at your Wicker Park Chicago residence.