The Top 5 Benefits of Light Timers [For Interior and Exterior Lights]

Woman looking at a light timer and weighing the benefits

Do you know about all the light timer benefits even a simple system can bring? Install a light timer for your house to control the timing of your home's interior and exterior lights.

Are you getting the most out of your light timer benefits? For several reasons, installing timers for your house’s interior and exterior lights is a good idea. More and more homeowners are investing in these systems to help maintain safer, more efficient homes. You might be able to install a simple light timer system by yourself, especially if you’re a devoted DIYer, or you can get a professional installation done by almost any residential electrician. 

With increasing popularity, home light timers have been coming down in price for a long time, and now might be the perfect time for you to try one out for yourself. Here are five reasons it’s a good idea to try out a light timer on your property today.

1. Improve Safety

Safety is one of the first light timer benefits you might think of when you’re picturing putting a system in your home. Setting your interior house lights on a timer creates the impression that somebody is home from the street. Most burglars don’t like drawing attention to themselves, so they’ll avoid a well-lit home. 

Setting your exterior lights on a timer has similar benefits. Porch lights, driveway lights and lights to keep your yard lit up are powerful deterrents to prowlers and trespassers. Setting the lights to come on in what looks like an intentional pattern at various times is likely to keep unwelcome visitors away from your property line. 

Light timer benefits extend to times when you’re away. For example, if you and your family go on vacation, the dark house you left behind can be a tempting target for intruders. Setting your interior and exterior lights on a timer before you leave can make them switch on and off with the sun setting and your family’s regular lights-out hours. To a casual observer, who may be watching the houses in your neighborhood for signs that a household is out of town, this can look like you’re all still there and your property is an unacceptable risk for a break-in.

2. Save Energy

Even if you never travel, light timer benefits go beyond just security considerations. They can help you save energy as well. Lighting a large property gets costly pretty quickly. Running just a single 100-watt incandescent light during regular peak demand hours can cost nearly $3 an hour. Multiply that by the many lights in your kitchen, living room and bedrooms, plus exterior lights for your driveway, front and back porch and maybe a few around the pool, and you can see how the price ticker runs up fast. Setting your house lights on a timer helps keep unused lights off when they’re not needed, and it can save a lot of money each month when the utility bill is due.

Cash is one thing, but the impact on the environment is another. Homeowners are increasingly paying attention to how green their homes are, and even energy-efficient lighting doesn’t always measure up. Electricity generation is responsible for about 70% of a home’s carbon footprint, and 10% of the electricity your house consumes is used for lighting. That makes lights responsible for 7% of home energy use, 7% of coal, nuclear or natural gas demand, and 7% of the associated pollution and environmental impact. Anything you can do to limit your home’s use of lights, including just setting a timer to switch off the pool lights after 6 p.m., can shave a few points off the energy consumption/waste generation your house represents on a larger scale.

3. Keep to a Regular Pattern

Infographic of scale to measure the benefits of light timers

Any parent can tell you that keeping to a regular pattern is one of the keys to a happy house full of kids. Setting your house lights on a timer helps establish and maintain a regular pattern that helps set boundaries and possibly limit arguments at bedtime. Ideas here range from minor tweaks, such as setting the outside lights to come on after dinner, to whole-house light control that has the bedroom and downstairs lights going on and off in a regular pattern. 

This works for everything from signaling the kids to come in from the street as the sun sets to indicating that bedtime has officially arrived and it’s time to settle down. If your family is on a schedule that has everyone getting up before dawn, you can set the lights to come on right before the alarms go off to light the path between your bedroom and the coffee machine.

4. Manage the Lights While You’re Away

Enhanced security isn’t the only reason you might want to install a light timer when you’re away. If you have pets at home, regular light schedules can be good for their emotional health and reduce the anxiety they feel during your absence. Fish, birds and houseplants are particularly sensitive to light schedules, and keeping things regular for them is another one of the light timer benefits you can take advantage of.

If you install a smart timer, one that comes with Wi-Fi or 5g connectivity, you can also get the benefit of remote control for your lights. This works on a lot of levels, from remotely setting your light schedule during a trip to powering up the lights right before your car turns the corner onto your street. With nothing fancier than a smartphone and internet service, you can light up every room in your house 10 minutes before you get home. Not only does this ensure you walk through the door into a well-lit home, but it also might spook an intruder into getting out of your house before you return from a trip. While it’s not quite as effective as a barking dog, a sudden whole-house illumination might motivate a stranger to leave before you, and your loved ones arrive.

5. Enjoy Light Timer Benefits Around the Holidays

One of the most often-overlooked light timer benefits comes up during the holidays. It’s pretty common for people to put up the Christmas and New Year lights and decorations sometime in October, which means several months of twinkling outdoor lights that run on maddeningly complex circuitry. 

These lights are a significant drain on a household’s electricity budget, and it’s nice to limit the loss. Putting exterior holiday lights on a timer switch lets you go to bed with the outside of your home beautifully illuminated and have the whole pricey display shut itself off after a few hours.

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