Lighting Research Center NYSERDA Lighting Patterns for Homes Image Map



Timers, also known as interval timers, can be used in place of wall switches in areas that are occupied for short or predictable amounts of time, such as bathrooms, utility areas, and storage closets. These devices are equipped with either a solid-state control or a mechanical spring-winding system that turns the bulbs off automatically as soon as the set time interval has elapsed. Timers for plug outlets are also available.

Timers can save energy and extend bulb life. Frequent switching of fluorescents will shorten burning life, but may increase actual service life if the bulbs are turned off during periods when they might have been left on.


  • Avoid using timers in rooms where the occupant could be stranded away from the switch when the bulbs turn off.
  • Spring-wound timers may produce noise, so use a solid-state electronic timer if quiet operation is preferred.

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