Do dimmer switches really save energy when lighting a room? | Leo Hickman | Environment | guardian.co.uk

The incandescent light bulb in golden chandelier

Do dimmer switches really save energy when lighting a room? | Leo Hickman | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

via Do dimmer switches really save energy when lighting a room? | Leo Hickman | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

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.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s