You know those little projects that you never seem to get around to? Well, our new house came with a security light over the garage that stays on 24 hours a day. Neither of us have ever really been into security lighting, especially the kind that illuminates the back deck, calls in flying insects from nearby counties, and shines brightly in through our windows. There’s also the fact that it drains electricity 24 hours a day, which seems rather wasteful. However, this light didn’t come with a light switch so we had trouble figuring out how to turn it off.
At first we thought we could just turn off its circuit breaker. Unfortunately, it was installed on the same circuit breaker as the refrigerator, which is one of those energy hogs we aren’t quite ready to unplug. (There are folks who have – check out Green as a Thistle or go straight to Little Blog in the Woods for the real dirt on living without a fridge.) We tried tracing the wiring down from the light but it disappears under the deck in a corner with no access.
Then Will had an inspiration – just take out the bulb! My dad suggested a BB gun but we thought we’d be a little classier and actually unscrew the bulb. I ended up doing the dirty deed since it was an awkward squirm from the ladder to the roof and we figured it would be easier for Will to catch me than to try it the other way around. No big deal except that I’m really scared of heights. Happily, it wasn’t too bad except that the bulb was really hot so even with gloves I had to take breaks between rounds of twisting.
We checked our electric meter after turning the circuit breaker back on and it appears to be spinning at a much slower rate. Woo hoo! Victory! We’re not sure exactly what wattage the bulb was but based on some other on-line security light figures it could easily be as high as 200 Watts. With 24-hour usage, that adds up to 6 kWh per day, almost as much as we used in our old apartment in July. Craziness. Of course, it will be awhile before we see any significant savings in our energy bill but just knowing it’s gone will help us both sleep a little better at night.