Table of Contents

  • How Much Are Your Lights Costing You?

  • Does Turning off Lights Save Money?

  • Is it Cheaper to Leave a Light on or Turn it on And Off?

  • More Ways to Save Energy From Electricity Usage From Lighting

How Much Are Your Lights Costing You?

Chances are, you can remember someone in your household growing up being extremely picky about the usage of lights. Perhaps they would viciously turn them off every twenty seconds or maybe they would call out something to the effect of “why is this light still on? Money doesn't grow on trees!”

If this is familiar to you, no doubt you wondered…

How much energy does turning off lights save and how does that saved energy translate into saved money? 

While the cost of electricity usage fluctuates based on multiple factors, it is possible to find a rough approximation of how much your lights might be costing you. 

For instance, the US Department of Energy shares that using a 60W traditional incandescent light bulb for about 2 hours a day at the rate of 11 cents for every kilowatt-hour costs roughly $4.80 annually while using the more efficient 12W LED, under the same usage and price, costs only about $1.00 annually. 

It is estimated that the average american family spends between $50 and $150 every year, just on the electricity needed for lighting. 

Of course, these are only estimations based on averages, however, the principle remains the same: Using less efficient lighting options could be costing you quite a bit more. 

While there is no concrete way to know exactly how much light bulb usage is costing each consumer, it is clear that the costs can add up. 

The Cost of Turning Your Lights on Adds Up

It is estimated that the average American home has around 45 light bulbs. 

For many people, lighting can account for approximately 20% of their home’s total electricity usage. 

It is clear to see that using your lights can add up quickly in both electricity usage and cost. The average home has approximately 45 bulbs.

Let’s take those possible numbers for each bulb. 

The cost of a less efficient bulb runs at approximately $4.80 a year, which would make the average cost for lighting in an average-sized home about $216 a year.

Now, contrast $216 with the more efficient bulbs that might average at $1.00 per year and the lighting bill potentially drops to $45 per year. 

Using those approximate numbers, that could leave users with around $171 in savings. 

Choosing efficient lighting options might save you some real money.

Does Turning Off Lights Save Money? 

Now that you know that exchanging your less efficient bulbs for more energy-efficient bulbs might save you money, you might be wondering…

Does turning lights off and on waste electricity? 

And if so…

How much energy does turning off lights save? 

If turning off lights saves electricity, it most likely saves money, too. 

But, savings are dependent on the light bulb you use.

Incandescent Lighting

Incandescent light bulbs essentially only work because of heat.

When the wire filament inside is heated through an electric charge, it glows, producing light… and heat. 

Roughly 90% of the energy that the bulb uses is converted to heat. 

If you have forty-five of these bulbs throughout your home, you can count on a change in temperature, which could drive up costs like keeping your home cool in the warmer months. 

Turning off your incandescent bulbs when you are not using them is a wise choice. 

Since most of the electricity they use doesn’t even go to lighting, they are highly inefficient. 

Turning these bulbs out conserves electricity which in turn might lower your energy charges. 

Halogen Lighting

Halogen lighting bears many similarities to their cousin, the incandescent bulb. 

Both bulbs use heat to create light. 

Halogen bulbs are slightly more efficient than incandescent bulbs however they still use far more energy than efficient options like CFL or LED. 

Just like incandescent bulbs, the best choice is to turn these off when you aren’t using them. 

CFL Lighting

CFL lighting, or a compact fluorescent lamp, is an energy-efficient lighting option. 

When it comes to savings from turning CFL bulbs off, it can get a little tricky. 

The lifespan of a CFL bulb is directly related to the number of times that the bulb is turned off or on. 

So turning your CFL bulbs off and on all the time can cause them to have a shorter lifespan. 

But leaving lights on for excessive amounts of time when they are not needed might drive up those energy charges. 

In general, if you are leaving the room for more than fifteen minutes, go ahead and turn off the lights. 

If you will be back within fifteen minutes, turning off a CFL bulb likely will not save money. 

LED Lighting

No doubt, you have heard about the infamous LED light bulb. 

It is touted as one of the most efficient options because it is 90% more energy efficient than the traditional incandescent. 

LED, or light-emitting diode light bulbs produce light when electrical currents are sent through a microchip that illuminates the small light sources we know as LEDs. 

This produces visible light. 

While LEDs do create some heat, all of that heat is absorbed into what is called a heat sink that is located in the bulb.

LED bulbs tend to last longer, work better, and provide more efficient lighting for your home than their less-efficient competitors. 

When it comes to extending the life of your LED bulbs by turning them off and on, you can rest assured that doing so multiple times will most likely not affect your bulbs. 

The lifespan of an LED bulb is not reliant on how many times it is turned off or on like a CFL bulb is. 

Turning off your LED bulbs when not in use may reduce the amount of electricity your lighting takes up and, in return, could lower some of your energy charges. 

If you are looking for a more energy-efficient and budget-friendly lighting source, LEDs might be for you. 


Is it Cheaper to Leave a Light on Or Turn it on And Off?

Yes and no; it all depends on the bulb type you use. If you are using incandescent, halogen, or LED bulbs, turn them off when not in use. If you are using a CFL light and will be gone for less than fifteen minutes, leave the light on. 

More Ways to Reduce Electricity Usage With Your Lighting

Now that you are no longer asking “how does turning lights off save energy”, you should know that there are ways beyond turning off lights and changing bulbs that can help reduce electricity usage. 

From changing your shower head to cleaning your AC filters, there are things you can do to lower your energy charges. 

In addition to non-lighting-related methods, there are some great lighting tools available to help you create an energy-efficient home. 

Use Lighting Controls

You can reduce electricity usage by implementing different tools that help your lights offer you only what you need.

These tools help to reduce your electricity usage and this can help you save money. 


Have you ever sat in a movie theater as they dimmed the lights and wished that you could have that feeling every day? 

You can. 

Dimmers are a fantastic tool that reduces the amount of light your bulbs are producing. 

These can help reduce your electricity usage because they make your lights bright when you need them to be and dim when you need them to be.

Instead of sitting on the sofa trying to read in the dark or having to endure a glaring haze around your TV screen, you can use a dimmer switch to find the perfect middle ground. 


Timers are another incredible lighting tool option that can help eliminate wasteful electricity usage. 

Timers can turn your light off when you don't need them and on when you do. 

When you use a timer, it helps regulate how long the light stays on, ensuring that it doesn't stay on too long if you forget to turn it off. 

Timers can also turn your lights on at specific times such as:

  • When you get home from work

  • When you wake up

  • At specific intervals throughout the day and night while you are away from your home

Not only do timers help keep your electricity usage under control, but they might also help keep your home safe while you are away. 

Since timers can be programmed to turn on your lights without you present, they can sometimes give the illusion that someone is home, even if you are on the beach in Florida. 

Motion Detectors

Motion detectors are one of the most sure-fire ways to ensure that your lights are only on when you need them. 

By detecting movement in the room, motion detectors can turn your lights on when you enter and off after you leave. 

If you are prone to forgetting to turn off those less-efficient bulbs that you have, a motion detector might be a great option for you. 

Encourage Your Community to Save Electricity

Did you know that areas that use more electricity tend to have higher charges for everyone in the area? 

If you live in a high-use community, your energy charges might be higher than they would be if you lived in a more energy-conscious area. 

By involving your community in conserving electricity, charges could go down for the whole area.

If you are looking to help your community and potentially lower your energy charges at the same time, think up some ways to help your community get involved. 

It could be as simple as a yard sign or as involved as seeking out conversations where you can share that they might be able to save, too! 

Sign Up for the Gexa Energy Saver Plan

While your efforts to change your bulbs, implement timers, and build community awareness might help reduce your energy charges, they can only go so far without a great energy plan backing them. 

Here at Gexa Energy, we know what it means to provide you with great plans that are priced just right. 

Our Gexa Energy Saver Plan is built to meet your electricity needs meaning you enjoy:

  • Up to 23% savings on your cooling and heating costs*

  • Pre-programmed smart thermostats with professional installation included

  • Fixed low rate

  • 100% green energy 

  • Happiness Guarantee **

  • A welcome bonus… in the form of a $100 VisaⓇ Reward Card *** 

If you are looking to save on your energy costs, Gexa Energy has the perfect plan for you. 



*Energy savings are calculated by comparing operation time for a nationwide sample of Sensi users with temperature adjustments averaging 4° in comparison to users with no adjustments. Savings vary based on equipment type/condition, insulation, climate & temperature adjustment size/frequency.

Gexa Energy is not affiliated with Emerson and makes no warranties with respect to Sensi. Emerson, Sensi and related marks and logos are trademarks of Emerson, Inc.

Gexa Energy Saver Plans are limited to customers with single-family homes. The service address must have a central HVAC system, an active Wi-Fi network, and the customer must have access to a smartphone (Android or iOS).

Allow 4 to 8 weeks for delivery and installation of your Emerson SensiTM Touch Wi-Fi smart thermostats.


** Happiness Guarantee - If you’re not happy with your new Gexa Energy residential plan, just call us within 60 days of your service activation date, change to another available Gexa Energy plan, and we’ll waive the early cancellation fee on your first plan; applies one time only for new Gexa Energy residential customers. Your contract term will restart with your second plan. Offer subject to change or withdrawal prior to customer acceptance.

Gexa Energy purchases renewable energy credits (RECs) from renewable generation resources throughout North America to match 100% of the energy sold under your electric plan.  The RECs Gexa purchases represent the renewable attributes of power generated from a variety of renewable energy sources, including, but not limited to, the sun, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave or tidal energy, and biomass or biomass-based waste products, including landfill gas.