Perfect Timing

According to Energy Star, in the average U.S. home, lighting accounts for about 20 percent of the electric bill. One of the easiest way to avoid wasteful lighting is to use light timers.

In her latest article, Grist.org's Umbra advises readers how to find the right light timer. The cheapest timer can be found in a hardware store and only costs about five dollars. You plug the square box into the wall, plug the lamp into the box and set the color-coded plastic prongs by desired on and off times.


Digital versions of this timer cost only slightly more. There are also versions of this timer that are embedded in power strips and photosensitive ones that are made for outdoor lights.

Efficiency power strips can also be used to turn off all attached appliances to prevent vampire power. To see Umbra's article on power strips, click here.

For those interested in a little electrical work, Umbra suggests installing a more complicated electric timer wired directly into an electric box. The switch has four or so settings of time--10 minutes, 20 minutes, 40 minutes, 60 minute, etc.--and turns itself off after an allotted time.

Saving money has never been easier!