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If you must have incandescents…

My wife likes to keep the house roughly in the style of the period in which it was built.  That in turn means ornate light fittings with candle style light globes at the top and bottom of the stairs.  Those candle globes are not yet attractive in the energy saving format, so we still use incandescents.

Each fitting holds five globes, at 40Watts each that is 400Watts of energy.  If we go away for a night or two we like to keep those lights on.  Without a timer that means 9.6KWh wasted every day.

Solution?  Simple: we have a separate low energy light in a recessed fitting at the top of the stairs; 11Watts, 0.264KWh in a day.  The incandescents get used only when we need to impress guests.

In our case, it was an accident in remodeling.  The recessed light was left over from a previous iteration.  In new construction it’s an insignificant addition – providing it’s specified up front.  In “old work” it depends on the house.  Snaking new wires is never easy.  One way to avoid having to snake wires to a switch is to use a wireless solution like X.10 (  It’s a simple and cost effective way to gain some security and save on electricity.

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