In the dark: Consumers may not know how new bulbs work with dimmers

Consumers may think they can just go out and purchase LED and CFL bulbs to replace their incandescent predecessors, but they may also need to contact an electrician and home inspection professional if the socket in question is controlled by a dimmer. 

Homeowners may have installed dimmers in their living rooms and dining rooms years ago, in order to allow them the opportunity to alter an area's environment through adjustable lighting. After all, not many people want to eat dinner under a blinding cluster of light bulbs set to their maximum power.

The U.S. government's decision to gradually phase out incandescent bulbs has rendered some dimming devices useless, as many are designed specifically to work with older bulbs, not their newer energy-efficient counterparts.

"The vast majority of existing home installations prior to 2011 were designed in such a way that the lighting devices are unable to effectively support dimmable LED or CFL bulbs," Leviton executive Michael Neary told Health News Digest.

To continue to use adjustable lighting, some consumers have had to stock up on incandescent bulbs to use in those sockets, even though they waste more energy. Others have sought the help of electricians to install different types of dimmers that are required to control some highly efficient bulbs. A third option is to find models of energy-efficient bulbs that work with traditional dimmers.

Energy-efficient homes do not have to be inadequately lit homes. A Washington, D.C. home inspector will have the knowledge needed to assess a home's lighting needs and current energy use through an energy audit, which can reveal areas of the home that can be upgraded. Once homeowners slash their energy bills, they will understand the true benefit of seeking outside assistance.