Changing big spot recessed lights

How do you get started with lowering your energy use?

First you want to look around your house at how you use lights today. The goal is to find which are the lights that are on most of the time because they are places you occupy as you go around your day (night), or because they leave a useful utility light. Spending a lot of money changing a bulb on a room you don’t use every day isn’t going to do much versus a place you occupy.

You also want to note which lights or circuits have the highest power bulbs. Watts-reduced-per-dollar, it will be cheaper to change a 120W bulb for a 18W for $28  (3.6 W/$) than to change two 60W for two 10W bulbs at 2 * $19 (2.6 W/$)

For my first batch of changes, I was able to replace a bunch of 90 W halogens and Incandescent lights in “roof cans”. These were typically in studies, hallways or other areas which tended to stay on.

After some experiments – and many returns – I ended up replacing them with three sort of bulbs mostly:

1) A study ended up getting an Ecosmart Bright White Flood (24W,3000K). The “hotter” temperature leads to “cooler” (bluish) colors which was OK for the modern look of the study. The study also has a dimmable standing lamp which has 2700K bulbs which can be used for a subdued lighting if needed. (Home Depot – although my packaging was different, they came in a box- and can’t find them on Amazon!)

 2) Lights in hallways, walk-in closets and the laundry room ended up being replaced by the EcoSmart 14-Watt  BR30 LED Flood Light Bulb (Home Depot, didn’t find them on Amazon but these seem to be the same with a different brand). They seem brighter than an incandescent 90W, have a simple plain look when off, and are very bright, and are 2700K, which makes for natural light in the walk in closets and hallways. They were very bright, and the light was not so ‘directed’. They do take almost a second to turn on, which throws you off the first week or so, but then you get used to it.

3) A bunch of 90W halogen lamps ended up getting replaced by Ecosmart 9.5W lamps with the full enclosure (not shown in the picture). They were also very nice looking when on and off, are 2700K, and extremely easy to install – just adjust the distance of the “lip” to the bulb screw, and screw the whole thing in like a large lightbulb. It may take two tries if you are unlucky, but no tools or skills are needed. The enclosure also helps decrease air drafts that reduce your home’s heating/cooling efficiency; and modernize the look of the light fixture.

With these changes, I easily got rid of around 1000W of potential use with around 130W. The lamps were costly – especially the ones with the full enclosure, but in the long run still worth it.

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