Turn Off Your Outside Lights at Night

Turn Off Your Outside Lights at Night

Turn Off Your Outside Lights at Night

A small pet peeve of mine is folks that leave on their outside lights all night.  Do they realize how much this is costing them?!?  I even have some neighbors that routinely leave their outside lights on during the day – talk about a waste of money!!

Turn Off Your Outside Lights at Night – The Money Saving Breakdown

  • Difficulty (Super Easy/Easy/Medium/Hard/Expert): Super Easy
  • Average Savings per Year ($/year): 100
  • Time Required (mins)5
  • Savings for your time ($/hr): 1,200

Turn Off Your Outside Lights at Night – The Background

When I leave for work in the morning, it isn’t all that uncommon for me to find many neighbors with their outside lights left on.  This means that many of them are leaving three to six light bulbs burning for 10 hours a day each and every day of the year!  This seems like a relatively innocent practice, but the cost of this practice really does add up over an entire year if you do not turn off your outside lights at night.  Many folks will spend more than $100 a year on additional electricity.

Turn Off Your Outside Lights at Night – Details

I made this simple table showing how much one could expect to spend annually if you do not turn off your outside lights at night.  I assumed $.12.2 / kwh and 60 watt bulbs.  This is the average electricity charge for the US.  You can get a rough estimate for what your average kwh charge is here if you are interested.

# Lights Left On

Hours Left On 1 2 3 4
2  $5.34  $10.69  $16.03  $21.37
4  $10.69  $21.37  $32.06  $42.75
6  $16.03  $32.06  $48.09  $64.12
8  $21.37  $42.75  $64.12  $85.50
10  $26.72  $ 53.44  $80.15  $106.87

Basically, many of my neighbors are spending more than $100 a year because they do not turn off their outside lights at night.

Turn Off Your Outside Lights at Night – Why?

Why are folks leaving on their outside lights at night?  I think the number one reason is that people believe is helps to reduce crime.  I am not a crime expert, but much of my research has led me to believe that night lighting in residential areas has no effect on home break-in type of crime.  Most break and enters occur during the day when folks are at work.  Also, many studies have shown that having light at night around homes actually increases crime because the crooks can better see what they are doing!

Turn Off Your Outside Lights at Night – Alternatives

If you are still concerned about crime and believe that night lighting is the way to go, here are a couple of EASY alternatives that will help you save money on electricity and still light up the area:

  •  Switch to CFL Bulbs – if you have not done this yet, what are you waiting for??  The price has come down now to where they are about the same price as the old style light bulbs.  And if you switch from 60W to 13W, you could save $80+ a year (4 lights at 10 hours per night)!
  • Install Battery Operated Motion Sensing LED Lights – These little things are awesome – no wiring necessary!  The batteries last for more than a year and are only $20.  You would get a return on your investment in only a couple of months!

Turn Off Your Outside Lights at Night – Final Thoughts

If you leave your outside lights on all night, please reconsider this practice!  You can save yourself $100+ a year if you turn off your outside lights at night.  Do you have other ways to save money on outside lighting expenses?


  1. says

    Wow, that’s crazy! I do see a lot of homes at night that are lit up. My parents only leave the light on if they’re expecting someone. Having motion sensored lights is a great idea, though. I’ve also seen lots of people with little solar lights around the perimeter as decoration, but if you use enough of them, they light an area up pretty well.
    E.M. recently posted…Given the Chance, What’s One Thing You Would Buy?My Profile

    • says


      I’ve read that most break-ins happen from the back of the house anyways, so at least there is some amount of logic applied. I’d still go with a motion sensor to save money over the long run…

  2. says

    Great points on the cost savings, however I like the feel of neighborhoods with houses that have lights on. Feels more inviting and like a place I would want to be. The distinction would be to leave them on in the evening 6-11ish, but turn them off after that when everyone’s asleep.

    • says


      I can see your point, if you use CFLs and are responsible enough to turn them off. I just saw another neighbor with their outside lights on in the middle of the day on Sunday. WTF?!?

    • says


      Many reports show that having additional light actually increases crime. Also, you are much more likely to have your house broken into from the rear (less witnesses). Try CFLs if you still need that safety factor to help you sleep :-)

  3. says

    My parents always leave the lights on for safety. I think if you can really afford it and it provides security, then go for it! But, my guess is a lot of people could realllly use the savings instead! I personally live in a high rise, so I do not have outside lights. :)
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…15 Beauty Saving Tips For SummerMy Profile

    • says


      I really think the best bet for these type of folks is to setup a motion sensor light. You get the security factor or warm and fuzzy feeling when it cuts on. Plus, if you notice it switches on you can go and have a look. Thanks for stopping by :-)

  4. says

    When we lived in our old city we always left our lights on. They were on a timer to come on at dusk and turn off around dawn. I’m more than willing to pay the extra $100 or so because we had many occasions where there were people trying to break into our car,… only if the lights were off. My fiancé went outside once and there was someone digging in our car because it was pretty much pitch black.

    Now where we live we have a motion sensor for the lights and that works fine. I just hate entering a dark porch, ya know?
    Alicia @ Financial Diffraction recently posted…Why I Am Not Changing Apartments.My Profile

  5. says

    Heh. This is something my husband and I disagree on. I think leaving the lights on just makes it easier for criminals to see what they are doing, and he thinks it makes the house safer. If this is the only problem in our marriage, we’re fortunate.
    Annie Logue recently posted…Blogathon day 25: I got nothingMy Profile


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