DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum (
-   Electrical and Wiring (
-   -   Saving money (electricity) isn't working out... (

RyanBruner 09-25-2009 09:50 AM

Saving money (electricity) isn't working out...
Last year I "finished" my basement. (Well, put up insulation and actual walls with drywall, and new wiring throughout, etc.)

This room is basically one big play room for the kids, with two smaller rooms as well (a utility/furnace room, and a small little office).

I have in the main area, four light fixtures. Cheap things, just taking standard screw-in light bulbs. I planned to put in CFLs there, like I have for most of the house. But I also installed an automatic light switch. (My kids are notorious for leaving the light on, and I was getting tired of going down at night to turn everything off.)

What I discovered was that the automatic light switches apparently still send a current through the lights. For CFLs, this is bad, because they end up flashing on and off every 5 seconds or so as a result. Turns out, you have to use incandescent bulbs instead, which use way more power.

So, I'm not entirely convinced I'm saving money. Since there is apparently power always running through the lights, there is an energy trickle going on even when the switch is "off". And occasionally my kids decide to override the automatic switch, which results in 400-watts of power running all night long.


Is there such thing as an automatic light switch that would allow me to use CFLs instead? The other option would be to replace the light fixtures with regular fluorescent lighting, but I'm trying to save money, not spend a lot of money right now.


handyguys 09-25-2009 11:10 AM

How about those mechanical timer switches. Turn the knob and they are on for 60 minutes or whatever. Yeah a pain in the butt but hey, they are kids. Put in a nightlight if it would get too dark to find the switch.

Here is one
Coleman Cable 59717 60-Minute Switch Timer for Outlet and Appliance , White

JoeD 09-25-2009 12:15 PM

You need an automatic switch that requires a neutral wire. Then it won't need to send current through the lamp to operate. Hope you didn't use switch loops. Because then you can't use the switches requiring neutrals.
Here is a couple that should work. They specifically say work with electronic ballasts.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:30 PM.