Removing incandescent bulbs is good, but do eco bulbs save energy when used with dimmer switches? Photograph: Thomas Kienzle/AP
Is it true that dimmer switches do not actually reduce the power consumption when used with an eco or normal light bulb? I have been told they still use the same power as for, say, a 60-watt bulb and only restrict the flow of power to the bulb but do not reduce it and therefore there is no actual saving by fitting dimmer switches to lights. Please can you advise?
Steve Knights, by email
This is not the first time I’ve heard this being said of dimmer switches. There seems to be a common perception that rheostat-type dimmers only convert the energy “saved” by dimming the switch into heat and, therefore, do not make a net saving. Equally, I’ve also heard it said that a dimmer switch at full beam uses more energy than if the same lightbulb had been controlled by a regular on-off switch. I will ask a lighting expert to supply a response below, but I’d like to hear your thoughts too.
And while we’re on the subject of dimmer switches, it would be interesting to gather together people’s thoughts and experiences of using eco lightbulbs with dimmer switches. The two technologies have not had the best of relationships, but there seems to have been periodic promises by the lighting industry over the years that the problems will be resolved and a fully dimmable eco lightbulb will be made available.
- Do dimmer switches really save energy? (guardian.co.uk)
- Why Led Strip Lights Are So Popular (allhome-improve.com)
- Elemental LED Shapes the Future of Dimmable LED Lighting with the Reign Dimmer Switch and PWM Injector (prweb.com)