domestic lighting power consumption

coupe deville

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any electricians out there
these two will not work with low energy lightbulbs
1 -domestic dimmer switches- do they save money if lights are set to dim or does the electricity that is not going to the light go thru the dimmer circuitry and still have to be paid for.
2 - touchlamps [bedside] first touch on dim, second touch on medium, third touch on full. does the dim setting use less electricity
I am trying to save the planet, and money
 

rf065

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You can get low energy bulbs that work with dimmers now, not cheap though.

Russ
 

popuptoaster

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most dimmers use the same power all the time, if its warm and buzzing its definately using up energy instead of sending it to the lights, lots of electrical devices with variable controls work this way as its the cheapest way to build them.
 

MBManInKen

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Standard dimmers will not work with real energy saving bulbs (which are in essence fluorescent tubes). There are special dimmer circuits for such lamps, but those require a suitable bulb and they are expensive.

There are also so-called low energy halogen bulbs on the market which offer around 30% energy savings compared to incandescent light bulbs. They don't really offer the savings of a proper energy saving bulb, but they can be dimmed with the right dimmer (but be careful with the current they draw and the heat they generate).
 

Engineered

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Personally, I find "energy saving" bulbs dim enough without any fancy dimmer switches.

Unintential consequences - I put some of these bulbs in some lesser used rooms (utility, wc, study) and find, since doing this, the family leave these lights on all the time. Apparantly, they can't wait the three minutes or so for them to warm up and attain reasonable brightness.
I must say that I do, myself, find it iritating to go in the study for a document and have to wait so long for the light to get bright enough to see what I'm looking for.
Maybe I'm using too cheap bulbs, but these 10 Watt jobbies, burning all evening use loads more power than the old 60 or 100 Watt which were burning for a couple of minutes each time one of us entered a room.
Doug
 

Carrotchomper

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Personally, I find "energy saving" bulbs dim enough without any fancy dimmer switches.

Unintential consequences - I put some of these bulbs in some lesser used rooms (utility, wc, study) and find, since doing this, the family leave these lights on all the time. Apparantly, they can't wait the three minutes or so for them to warm up and attain reasonable brightness.
I must say that I do, myself, find it iritating to go in the study for a document and have to wait so long for the light to get bright enough to see what I'm looking for.
Maybe I'm using too cheap bulbs, but these 10 Watt jobbies, burning all evening use loads more power than the old 60 or 100 Watt which were burning for a couple of minutes each time one of us entered a room.
Doug


The newer generation ones do seem to be better for this.
 

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Unintential consequences - I put some of these bulbs in some lesser used rooms (utility, wc, study) and find, since doing this, the family leave these lights on all the time. Apparantly, they can't wait the three minutes or so for them to warm up and attain reasonable brightness.

I updated the computers in my study to new quiet low power units.

This winter I've switched on the radiator for the first time since '97.

As a result I'm expecting our gas usage (and by implication CO2 emissions from the central heating boiler) to go up.
 

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most dimmers use the same power all the time, if its warm and buzzing its definately using up energy instead of sending it to the lights, lots of electrical devices with variable controls work this way as its the cheapest way to build them.
Popup, this isn't quite right:( . Dimmers for normal incandescent (filament) lighting work by switching the power to the bulb at variable points in each AC cycle. The switching means that only a very small amount of power is dissipated at the switch/control.
So back to the Banditdave's first question; dimmed lighting using incandescent bulbs will use less electricity than if it were on at full brightness, so your meter will record that less power is used and you'll pay accordingly:) .
 

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This winter I've switched on the radiator for the first time since '97.

As a result I'm expecting our gas usage (and by implication CO2 emissions from the central heating boiler) to go up.

This will only be the case during the time when you actually need to heat the room and not all year round.
In addition the boiler is fairly efficient and gas produces less Co2 than the equivelant electricity generation so you will still be reducing your overall emissions.

Time to insulate...:)
 

Engineered

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Popup, this isn't quite right:( . Dimmers for normal incandescent (filament) lighting work by switching the power to the bulb at variable points in each AC cycle. The switching means that only a very small amount of power is dissipated at the switch/control.
So back to the Banditdave's first question; dimmed lighting using incandescent bulbs will use less electricity than if it were on at full brightness, so your meter will record that less power is used and you'll pay accordingly:) .

I thought this must be the case.
If dimmer switches used the same power when dimmed, there would be enormous heat within the switch (similar to that of an incandescent bulb). If not, where would the surplus energy go?
Doug
 

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Thyristor controls which chop the waveform were introduced in the 1960's so it's a safe bet that next-to-no dimmers on the market are resistor (heat dissipating) type. So the answer is that a lamp on a modern dimmer will use less power when dimmed.
I've started using the new halogen lamps which are in a standard GLS lamp body. (Like a car bulb within a bulb but 230 volt if that's clear). The advantages are a 25% energy reduction over the old bulbs, instant start up and they are dimmable with ordinary dimmers straight out of the box. I know the compact fluorescents give the best energy savings but in my opinion they're not suitable for every location in a house.
 

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Just thinking aloud...if you use a dimmer switch to save money but only dim the lights occasionally are you actually saving anything because, presumably, the dimmer switch is not 100% efficient at the max setting that you usually use?
 

ukcodger

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Just thinking aloud...if you use a dimmer switch to save money but only dim the lights occasionally are you actually saving anything because, presumably, the dimmer switch is not 100% efficient at the max setting that you usually use?
I would also think that the dimmer is wasting a small amount of power on full brightness. But if you do dim from time to time you'll possibly get it back.
 

popuptoaster

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dont forget to add in the extra cost of buying the dimmer in the first place.
 

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hmm this is maybe why my outside lights dont want to work when I wire in a photocell?!

I opted for energy saving bulbs... Im going to have a look at it tomorrow if its not too cold...
 

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Dryce

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This will only be the case during the time when you actually need to heat the room and not all year round.
In addition the boiler is fairly efficient and gas produces less Co2 than the equivelant electricity generation so you will still be reducing your overall emissions.

Time to insulate...

I'm quite sure that my boiler isn't as efficient as a modern power station. It certainly produces more CO2 than nuclear or wind. (This is Scotland - we get quite a bit of the nuclear stuff and wind stuff and hydro stuff as a proportion of our overall supply).

The house is double glazed and insulated. That was the reason my office was quite comfortable in winter with the waste energy from the old kit.

I will be saving energy over the summer but I doubt I'm saving much over the winter with my cooler kit.
 

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I'm quite sure that my boiler isn't as efficient as a modern power station. It certainly produces more CO2 than nuclear or wind. (This is Scotland - we get quite a bit of the nuclear stuff and wind stuff and hydro stuff as a proportion of our overall supply).

The house is double glazed and insulated. That was the reason my office was quite comfortable in winter with the waste energy from the old kit.

I will be saving energy over the summer but I doubt I'm saving much over the winter with my cooler kit.

If your boiler is less energy efficient than a power station and produces less Co2 then it must be really bad.
Power stations are about 30-40% efficient and dust to dust nuclear is supposed to produce the same or more Co2 than Gas.
A modern boiler at 90+% is a very efficient product.
 

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hmm this is maybe why my outside lights dont want to work when I wire in a photocell?!

I opted for energy saving bulbs... Im going to have a look at it tomorrow if its not too cold...

Motion sensor and photocell switches do often say not for use with low energy bulbs. However I've had one in my garage PIR light for 6 months without any problems so far.

You can get energy-saving bulbs with a built-in photocell ... they're not even that expensive (think I paid about £7.99 each). I've got them in 4 outside lights. Google for "dusk to dawn energy saver".
 

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