Over the past year or so, I’ve become a huge fan of Lutron® – they got me at first glance with their gorgeous, high-style colors and finishes, and then really secured my admiration as I got to play around with samples of the dimmers and switches, and learn what an insane amount of energy they can actually save.
Up to now, my experience with dimmers, Lutron® and otherwise, has been that they’re either on the high-end side (the ones that are hardwired in place of light switches, and can be programmed or wirelessly controlled), or tend to be less expensive (but novel and useful), like the type you attach to a table lamp or strand of Christmas lights, and operate manually. Both classes of dimmer are great in their own right, but they’re miles apart from one another in performance and function. Leave it to Lutron to take the proverbial lime and coconut, mix them up, and create a hybrid technology (a dimmer coctail, if you will) that combines the best features of wireless, programmable dimming with the simplicity of lamp control.
The call it the Maestro® Wireless Lamp Dimmer (what else?). You just plug any lamp into it at the outlet level, and then dim (or brighten) away via the rocker switch. You can happily go on using it this way more or less forever, but if you want to get really fancy, you can wirelessly network it with new or existing Lutron® occupancy sensors or lighting control, and tie it into a home-wide lighting scheme. Remote-controlled lamps, anyone?
When I was a kid, I was always fascinated by the fancy lamps at my aunt and uncle’s house – you know, the kind that would automatically change the brightness of the light if you just touched the lamp base. That was back before I understood what dimmers were and how they worked, and needless to say, it didn’t even occur to me that they could help conserve energy. No, back in those happy days, dimmers existed purely for my entertainment.
But know that I’m all grown up and paying my own electric bills, I really appreciate the fact that dimmers can help reduce the amount of money one needs to hand over to the utility company every month. Over the past few months, more and more energy-saving products have crossed my desk, but one of my favorites has been the Amertac™ Westek® Screw-In Lamp Socket Dimmer. It turns out that you can actually transform any lamp into a 3-step lamp by just screwing one of these Westek® dimmers into your lamp’s light bulb socket. Once the dimmer is installed, it takes only a light touch on any metal part of the lamp to adjust its light output. Pretty neat, right? Not bad for something that costs less than $12 and requires only a few turns of the wrist to install.
And this lamp socket dimmer doesn’t just save you money on electricity – it also cuts back on your light bulb costs, because you don’t need to use the more expensive 3-way light bulbs. Standard bulbs will work just fine – just keep in mind that these only work with incandescent bulbs, not CFLs.