Do Light Dimmers Save Energy?

This post may contain affiliate links, if you purchase through these links I might earn a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you. See the Disclaimer for full details.

Do light dimmers save energy? In times of high energy costs, it’s a very valid question. But as with a lot of technical questions, the answer very much depends on the age and technology used in the dimmer and the type of bulb used. The common assumption is that because dimmers reduce the amount of light produced by the bulb that must mean less power is being used and therefore light dimmers save energy. This is true for modern dimmers but not necessarily true for older dimmer units that introduce resistance into the circuit to dim the light output from the bulb.

What Is a Dimmer Switch?

A dimmer switch is a device added to a lighting fixture to dim or brighten lights to a specific level. They can be used to change the aesthetic or mood of a room. For example, you might want a bright space to work in but later on, use the same space to relax in later on.

How Do Dimmer Switches Work?

An older, standard dimmer switch works by reducing or increasing the amount of current flowing to the light bulb and therefore less light is produced. These types of dimmers – originally used as far back as the 1960s – are commonly used for dimming incandescent bulbs.

They do not use less energy as this design merely converts the energy to heat via adding or reducing resistance in the circuit using a device called a rheostat.

As a result, they are not as efficient as modern dimmers like the Lucron Diva. These dimmers do save energy when used with LEDs that have a much lower rating and produce very little heat. The technology used in newer dimmers – Triac Switches – turns the power to the bulb on and off very quickly rather than adding resistance to the circuit. Light is reduced or increased by varying the amount of time the power is switched on. To the naked eye, this flickering is imperceptible.

Amazon’s Choice
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B004C2WTLU&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=mmsustain 20&language=en USir?t=mmsustain 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B004C2WTLU

Lutron Diva LED Dimmer for Dimmable LED, Halogen and Incandescent Bulbs

  • Tested on 1,000s of bulbs and dozens of brands for flicker-free dimming.
  • Provides over 250 lighting levels so you can create the perfect light for any activity.
  • Works with up to 150 Watts of dimmable LED/CFL bulbs or 600 Watts of Incandescent/Halogen bulbs.
  • Lutron patented technology to optimize the dim range of your bulb and prevent interference with other dimmers in the home.
Buy on Amazon

Do Light Dimmers Save Energy?

In combination with LED bulbs, modern dimmers do use less energy, as explained above this is because less electricity is used during the time when the dimmer turns the power off to the bulb. Also, LEDs are up to 80% more efficient than incandescent bulbs and don’t produce nearly as much heat.

With this combination, not only will you save money on your energy usage but you’ll also be doing your part to help the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Dimmer Switches?

There are a number of benefits to using dimmers, including:

  • Less energy consumption
  • Longer life for light bulbs
  • Greater control over lighting levels
  • Enhanced ambiance and mood lighting.

Downsides To Using Dimmer Switches

While dimmers offer many benefits, there are also a few potential downsides to consider, such as:

  • They can be more expensive than traditional light switches.
  • They may not work with all types of bulbs.
  • They can cause flickering if not compatible with the bulb or if the electrical circuit is not up to code.

How Much Energy Does A Dimmer Save?

Saving energy using a dimmer will depend on the wattage of the bulb and how much it is dimmed. A standard 60-watt incandescent light bulb uses approx. 0.36 kWh per day if left on for 24 hours. If 50% less light is output by using a dimmer, you would be using approx. 0.18 kWh per day, resulting in a savings of approx. $0.09 per day or $32.85 per year*.

*Based on an electricity rate of $0.11 per kWh

While light dimmers on their own are not a guarantee to save you money on your energy bill, they are an easy way to reduce your energy consumption when combined with the right type of bulb. If you are looking for ways be more energy-efficient, dimmer switches save money in your home.

What Types Of Light Bulbs Work With Dimmers?

Most types of LED bulbs are compatible with a dimmer. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using LEDs with dimmers:

When using dimmers with LEDs, it’s important to make sure the components are compatible to avoid any potential issues. But if you follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to take advantage of the many benefits dimmer switches have to offer.

Dimmer switches save energy and generally give longer life to light bulbs. They enhanced the ambiance in a room and give the homeowner greater control over lighting. Dimmer switches can be more expensive than regular light switches, but the energy savings and other benefits make them a worthwhile investment. With a few considerations to keep in mind, dimmers can be a great addition to your home.

Using Incandescent Light Bulbs With Dimmers

Although LED bulbs are the most popular type to use with dimmers, there may be some situations where you want to use an incandescent bulb instead. In this case, you’ll need to make sure the dimmer switch is rated for incandescent bulbs and that the rating of the bulb is equal to or greater than the wattage rating on the dimmer.

When using an incandescent bulb with a dimmer, it’s important to make sure the components are compatible in order to avoid any potential issues. But if you follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to take advantage of the benefits dimmer switches have to offer.

Using Halogen Light Bulbs With A Dimmer

Halogen bulbs are another type of bulb that can be used with a dimmer switch. As with incandescent bulbs, you’ll need to make sure the dimmer is rated for halogen bulbs and that the wattage of the bulb is equal to or greater than the wattage rating on the dimmer switch.

Using CFL Light Bulbs With A Dimmer

Unfortunately, you cannot use a dimmer with a standard CFL (Compact fluorescent) light bulb. If you try to use a CFL bulb in conjunction with a dimmer it could flicker or may not light up at all. They are effectively the same design as a fluorescent tube and are more energy-saving than standard incandescent bulbs. You can however buy special CFL bulbs that are dimmable and will not flicker or damage the dimmer. Make sure you check the packaging of CFL bulbs to see if they are dimmer compatible.

Using LED Light Bulbs With A Dimmer

As mentioned previously, LED light bulbs are the most popular type to use with dimmer switches. This is because they are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and don’t flicker when used with a compatible dimmer.

When using LED light bulbs with a dimmer switch, it’s important to make sure the dimmer used is of the modern variety that will work with LEDs, like the Lucron Diva. The older type that simply varies resistance will not work.

How To Stop Dimmable LED Lights Flickering

If you are using dimmable LEDs and they are flickering, it’s likely due to one of these three issues:

  • The wrong type of dimmer is being used.
  • The electrical circuit is not up to code.
  • The wattage of the bulb is not compatible with the rating on the dimmer.

If you’re having trouble with flickering LED lights, make sure to check the type of dimmer being used as well as the wattage compatibility. Also, be sure the electrical circuit is up to code in order to avoid any potential issues.

Does Dimming Philips Hue Lights Save Energy?

Yes, dimming Philips Hue lights does save energy. As they are based on LED technology – like other LED bulbs they could save you up to 75% – When you dim the light, you are effectively reducing the wattage that is being used. This will result in lower energy consumption and cost savings on your electric bill.

Philps Hue bulbs can last up to 15 years. If you change all of your household bulbs to Hue and multiply the savings this could add up to quite a lot over this period of time. Some people may be put off by the high cost of these types of bulbs but in the long run, they will pay for themselves many times over.

Amazon’s Choice
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07QV9XB87&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=mmsustain 20&language=en USir?t=mmsustain 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B07QV9XB87

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance 2-Pack A19 LED Smart Bulb

  • Simple to Get Started; Set the mood with 16 million colors. Control your Philips Hue Smart Lights all with just the touch of a button on your mobile device or your favorite voice assistant. Add up to 10 Hue Bluetooth/Zigbee smart bulbs with the (free) Hue Bluetooth app. When ready to connect a voice assistant, just go to Settings > Add voice assistant in the Hue App.
  • Lifetime: 22 years or 25,000 lifetime hours (based on industry average usage), Energy Star Certified
Buy on Amazon

To maximize your energy saving you should consider dimming your Hue lights with a Philips Hue dimmer. These switches – specially designed to work with Hue bulbs can help to increase their lifespan. By reducing the amount of power that is being used, you are effectively extending the life of the bulb.

Hue bulbs are also smart in that they are programmable. You can save further electricity costs by setting schedules and timers using the Hue phone App to switch them on or off after certain time intervals. If you have people in your household who move from room to room switching on all of the lights as they go, this can be a very handy money-saving feature.

You can even connect your Hue lights up to a Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box to sync Hue colored lights with music and movies to give your home entertainment system a visual boost!

So if you’re looking for a way to save energy and money, dimming your Philips Hue lights is a great option. Not to mention numerous other features offered by Hue and the added benefit of extending the life of your bulbs.

What Are The Benefits Of Dimming Lights?

Switching to a modern dimmer will save some money but by far the biggest savings would come from a combination of a dimmer plus using a modern bulb rather than older power-hungry incandescent bulbs.

As per above, one consideration to keep in mind when using a dimmer switch is compatibility. Make sure the dimmer is compatible with the type of light bulb you’re using. Another thing to consider is wattage. The wattage of the LED bulb should be equal to or less than the wattage rating on the dimmer switch to avoid overload problems.

Light dimmers can save energy but also offer other benefits, including longer life for some types of light bulbs. Older incandescent bulbs do last longer with a dimmer as they are not subjected to an immediate step change to full voltage when switched on. The gentler ramping up of voltage with a dimmer switch helps to reduce this initial shock to the bulb filament.

Other types such as halogen bulbs do not enjoy longer life when used in conjunction with a dimmer as the gases used inside the glass bulb operate best at high temperatures. Dimmable LED lifespan is however mostly unaffected by dimming.

With a few considerations to keep in mind and the added benefit of enhanced ambiance, dimmers can be a great addition to your home.

Photo of author

About: Mila

Mila is passionate about living sustainability and encouraging others to do the same. Writing about practical steps we can all take to reduce our impact on the environment.