General Question

dxs's avatar

Should I keep my lights at 50% brightness?

Asked by dxs (15019points) April 28th, 2016

The lights in my room are controlled by a dimming switch. I don’t like too much brightness, and I thought it’d save energy as well. But, when I don’t push the switch all the way to the top, there’s a slight buzzing noise. I wonder if this isn’t good. It’s not loud enough to bother me—you have to listen to hear it. I don’t know much about electricity, but maybe someone can let me know if it’s okay or not.

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10 Answers

josie's avatar

I would just use lower wattage bulbs. Your dimmer just soaks up energy and distributes it as heat.

Mariah's avatar

Are they fluorescent bulbs? I’ve heard you shouldn’t use dimmers on those.

Edit: found a source:

dxs's avatar

@josie So you’re saying whether I use the lights at 100% or 50%, it’s using the same amount of energy? Mariah’s link contains the following information: “Dimming an incandescent bulb reduces the bulb’s energy consumption.” So while it may make the bulbs last longer, the amount of energy used is the same, but instead some is in the form of heat.
@Mariah I doubt it. They turn on right away. Nice link!

josie's avatar

If your light bulb was drawing water instead of electricity, the dimmer would only divert some of the water away from the light bulb, but the same amount of water would be leaving the source, so the diverted water would be wasted (unless you used it for something else, but the dimmer doesn’t do that). The lower watt bulb draws less water.

dxs's avatar

So the heat is basically wasted energy then.

XOIIO's avatar

Switch to LED’s, and others beat me to it, dimming an incandescent doesn’t make it more efficient.

dxs's avatar

I’m thinking they’re not even incandescent. The bulb is like a flat circle, not the way the incandescents I’ve seen look like. They’re also brighter than what I’d think to be incandescent.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Sounds like flood light.

josie's avatar

Unless you imagine it might warm the room in the winter.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

@Josie Thank you for teaching me something I’d never known (or, for that matter, had never really considered). It makes perfect sense that a dimmer can’t reduce heat, but that it merely disburses it. It’s a very good day when I learn something; thanks to you, I just did.

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