PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Did you know you could save $1,000 a year on your electric bill by making one simple change at your house?

You probably know that LED lights are better for the environment and they last longer, but in just the past year, the cost of LED lights has gone down to the point that it’s crazy not to buy them. Plus, if you replace all of your lights at once, you’re going to be shocked at how much you’ll save.

For most of us, it’s overwhelming standing in front of the display of lights at the hardware store, but the choice can be easier. Andy Amrhein of Evey True Value hardware in Bethel Park said it’s simple: the sooner you change to LED lights, the sooner you’ll save on your electric bill.

He changed out his whole house to LED lights three years ago.

“In our house, it’s about $1,000 year is what I’m saving in electricity,” Andy said. His wife worried she wouldn’t like the color of the lights so he changed them while she was out of town, and when she came back, she didn’t even notice.

“I wanted to prove to her and the average homeowner that they’re not going to be unhappy with them,” he said.

The Woods family in Mount Lebanon was also skeptical but willing to try it with the lights provided by Andy. Jeff and Mel Woods’ daughters, Tess and Madeleine, helped change the bulbs in their room to LED, while Andy and his contractor did the rest of the house.

The Woods happen have an usually high number of light bulbs — 87 in all, including some rare ones, but all bulbs now come in LED — including dimmable, 3-way, candelabra and recessed.

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“There’s nothing a homeowner can’t get in an LED bulb now,” Andy said.

Here’s how the prices compare. The most common traditional bulb — a 60 watt incandescent — costs about $1. A CFL bulb, which stands for compact fluorescent, the corkscrew kind, is about $2. The LED, which stands for light emitting diode, a whole different technology, costs $2.50.

But here’s why it’s worth it to pay a little more.

The amount of energy it takes to power the same light goes from 60 watts for incandescent, to 14 watts for CFL, and only 9 watts for LED. That translates to one-seventh the energy.

To determine how much money this saves you, just go to the LED savings calculator on the LED waves website and type in your home’s information. We put in the Woods’ numbers, and it calculated that they’ll save $1,291 in electricity costs in a year. Then, factor in the savings of not having to replace any lights for 17 years, and the woods will save $24,000 dollars over that time.

“That’s amazing. It really is… I’m flabbergasted,” Jeff Woods said. “I am shocked with several things but especially the $24,000 savings in 17 years.”

There are a lot of other benefits to switching as well. The CFL lights gave off that bluish, flourescent color and had mercury in them but not the LED lights. Plus, Jeff said now the house is cooler because there’s less heat from the LED lights, and when the kids leave the lights on… no problem!

“You go around every room and turn off the lights because you’re thinking, ‘there’s a dollar, there’s a dollar, there’s a dollar,” Woods said. “Now, I won’t be so bothered with the kids leaving lights on in rooms and things like that.”

Jeff’s planning to use the money he’s saved for his daughter’s dance lessons and maybe a wedding in 17 years when those lights finally run out.

“All the way around, it’s better for everybody – better for the pocketbook, better for our environment. I’m very excited about it,” he said.

Click HERE to try the LED savings calculator. 

Kristine Sorensen