Save Energy with a Countdown Timer Light Switch

Are you always reminding your kids to turn off their bedroom lights?  Is there a light in your house with an oddly placed switch that always seems to be left on?  In our house, it’s the laundry room light. Other hot spots for long-burning lights tend to be bathroom and outdoor lights.

Here’s an easy DIY solution to this common problem:  install a countdown timer light switch on key lights throughout the house, and then forget about them!

Countdown timer light switches are those that you turn on when you enter a room, by moving a lever or turning a dial, and the light stays on for the specified amount of time, for example, 1 hour.  These are easy to install and to use, especially if you already understand how light switches work. 

If you’d like to learn more about light switches and their wiring, check out the video How to Install a Light Switch on the See Jane Drill website.

Some factors to consider when choosing a timer light are: what style would you like?  Digital-face or the type where you turn a dial?  For bathrooms and children’s rooms, particularly young children, the dial type work well because of their simplicity. Other considerations include the type of wiring in the existing switch. Does it have a ground wire? If yes, you will want to be sure to get a switch that includes a ground wire or grounding terminal.  Some switches are not intended for use on fluorescent lights, so if you have a fluorescent, be sure to get the appropriate type of timer light switch.

Important note:  For DIY-ers, timer lights should be installed only on what is called “single-pole” switches.  This means a set-up where one switch controls the light.  You will want to avoid attempting to install a timer light on a switch that also controls an electrical outlet, or a light that is controlled by two switches, also known as a three-way switch.

It only takes about as long to install a timer light as it does to change out a light switch, and you will be glad that you don’t need to keep reminding people to turn off the lights!