Lighting timers are excellent for front porches (in order to turn a light on and off at dusk) or to command the outdoor lights, even if it is just a security light in the backyard.
But they are useful in many indoor situations.
Consider lighting timers in your energy-saving strategies.
Choosing A Timer
When buying a timer, pay attention to...
- The type of lamps the timer works with: compact fluorescents (CFL) and LEDs are the best for energy savings.
- The type of programming: 7-day programming? Number of events per week?
- Modes of operation;
- Warranties: often 3-years for high-quality timers;
- Ease of programming and installation: very similar models may differ in features like wattage and neutral-wiring features…
- Warnings: some modern timers emit warnings; for instance: a one-minute warning, signaling that lights (or a fan, or a heating or cooling device) are about to turn off.
Specific features like batteries, backlit display, night-light mode (for easy reading in dark areas), LED indicating the load status (On or Off) are also common.
Typical timers have two operation modes: manual and automatic.
The manual mode isn't really important: it’s just a typical On/Off switch. The automatic mode is the key one: it turns lights On/Off according to your own needs, or, say, at sunrise and sunset, or according to other criteria, often in a weekly basis.
Prices And Manufacturers
Prices vary a lot, but run mostly in the $10-$30 range. For prices and customer reviews on Amazon.com: Lighting timers.
Timers And Other Lighting Controls
Timers can be used in conjunction with other lighting controls. Be aware of compatibility issues.
Timers & Outdoor Lighting
Timers used to turn outdoor lights On and Off at specific times may require periodic resetting, according to the length of the day.
To overcome it there are now "intelligent" timers, able to respond automatically to the length of daylight.
Timers And Security
Timers can be used to simulate the presence of people in the house, even when householders are out. The timers can be programmed to switch On and Off at random intervals, in order to better simulate the presence of people.