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Light timers, sensors, and dimmers

Light switch on the walls with dimming lights in the background.

Use lighting controls to help save electricity

It can be hard to remember to turn off lights and other devices when they're not in use. Lighting controls like timers and occupancy sensors work automatically once installed, allowing you to set it and forget it.

Light timers

Using light timers for the lighting in and outside of your home is a convenient way to automatically turn lights on and off at certain times of the day. This can help reduce your energy use by only using light when and where you need it, and reducing the likelihood of leaving lights on unintended. They can also increase your home's safety and security.

Advanced light switches feature programmable, digital timers that provide you with greater control and flexibility to create a schedule for your lighting.

Where to use light timers at home:

  • Setting exterior lights to turn on at dusk, off at dawn – based on your latitude/longitude
  • Setting holiday lights to go on and off
  • Setting interior lights to turn on and off for a lived-in look while you're away on vacation

Occupancy sensors for lights

Occupancy sensors turn the light on when motion is detected in the covered range. You can typically set them to turn off when motion is no longer detected for 30 seconds, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes.

More sophisticated sensors can slowly dim the light rather than a hard shutoff.

Where to use occupancy sensors at home:

They work well in spaces that are used occasionally or spaces where a person is likely to have their hands full and thus not able to reach for a light switch.

  • Closets and pantries
  • Garages
  • Storage and utility rooms

Light dimmers

Light dimmers allow you to control the output of the light bulbs they're connected to. Dimming the lights reduces your electricity use. It also creates a gentler, ambient light that's easier on the eyes, and prolongs the lifespan of your bulbs.

Pair lighting controls with LEDs

If you're adding light controls to switches around your home, it's a good time to also make sure that you're using energy-efficient LED light bulbs in each socket to maximize your savings. Check the packaging on your lighting controls to ensure they’re compatible with your bulb type.

And if you're looking for added convenience, smart light bulbs allow you to control your home's lights from anywhere using your phone.