5 Ways a Timer Switch Can Help You Save

Is this the third day in a row that you forgot to turn off the holiday lights during the day? We’re full swing in holiday mode, and if you haven’t felt the burn in your wallet from holiday shopping, you may have felt the burn in your utility bill. From cranking up the heat to spectacular holiday lights and decorations, there could not be a more expensive time of the year! Though there are some expenses you can’t help, one thing you can get a better grip on is your utility and usage bills.

Timer switches are a great way to save on your electric bill and promote energy efficiency. They turn lights or other appliances on and off based on a timer clock. Two main types are a countdown timer and a programmable digital type.

Left: Countdown Timer Switch; Right: Programmable Timer Switch

A countdown timer switch operates on preset time intervals, such as 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, or even up to 12 hours. The switch will automatically turn the lights or connected appliance off after the selected preset countdown time is up.

A programmable timer switch operates on a fixed schedule. The user programs a schedule of when the lights will turn on and off. Some programmable timers even have an astronomic feature that turns lights on or off according to the dusk and dawn times of the switch’s region.

You may have decided that a timer switch would be great in some parts of your home. However, you may not be exactly sure which type of timer switch is best for you. Here is a list of applications for homeowners to use in deciding where and which timer switch would help save energy and money.

Outdoor Lighting

Luxury Home at Twilight

How many times do you find yourself coming home from work, at your doorstep, in the dark, rummaging through your bag for the keys or straining your eyes to unlock the door? What about trying to get a good look through the peephole at someone who rang your doorbell at 8PM? If only you remembered to turn on the porch lights before leaving. But you also don’t need the lights on the entire time you’re gone. Wouldn’t it be nice if the porch lights could just turn on at a specific time? In this situation, a programmable timer switch comes in handy and does just that. By scheduling your lights to turn on and off at a specific time on the days you choose, you no longer have to remember to turn on the lights before heading out or wonder if the outdoor lights were turned off when you’ve already tucked yourself into bed every day and night. Using a programmable timer is a great way to keep the exterior of your home well-lit at night and ensures the lights are off during the day without having it be a daily chore.


Shower Cabin at the Bathroom

We’ve all heard by now that it’s beneficial to leave the bathroom vent fan on for a few minutes after a shower to clear the air of excess moisture, which in turn, can cause mildew and mold growth. Okay, so now you’ve gotten you and your family to keep the fan on after showering, but a few hours later, you notice a whirring noise from the bathroom and realize the fan is STILL running. Or how about forgetting to turn off the heat lamp in the bathroom and feeling like you entered the fiery pits of Mount Doom an hour later? An extremely easy fix is installing a countdown timer switch in place of the regular switch controlling the bathroom fan or heater. Now you have a failsafe solution and your mind can rest.

Holiday Decorations and Holidays in General

Snow Winter GIF

Sure, holiday lights are wonderful and a great way to flex your holiday prowess…until your utility bill comes in. Keep your expenses in check by running lights on a timer. I recommend a programmable timer, so you only need to set it once, and let the lights complete the holiday magic! Because a programmable timer runs your lights on a fixed schedule, it helps give the illusion that someone is home even if no one is home. This is helpful for the holidays, when travel season is at its peak and you want to provide extra security for your home.

Guest Rooms

Master bedroom

Whether or not you’re completely thrilled about hosting your aunt for a few weeks, you can at least eliminate feeling like the guest room lights are perpetually on every time you pass by. By installing a countdown timer switch in the guest rooms and bathrooms, you can make sure lights aren’t inadvertently (or advertently) left on when not in use. I could see this come in handy for Airbnb hosts and other bed and breakfast hosts, who aren’t there to check on their homes when booked for guests. Just with the bathroom, a countdown timer switch makes for a great failsafe solution when it comes to guest rooms.


In addition to lights and bathroom fans, you can use timer switches to control ceiling fans, house fans, fountains, pumps, sprinkler systems, and more. These appliances can waste a lot of electricity when left on longer than intended, as reflected by your monthly utility bill. These applications work great on either a fixed schedule or time intervals, depending on the specific application used. For example, you may want the fountain on only at specific times of the day; in this case, a programmable timer control would work best. A countdown timer switch or control might work better for a ceiling fan in situations where it is used during random times of the day, and therefore wouldn’t make sense to run at set times throughout the day or week.


Choosing between a countdown or programmable timer largely depends on how you will use the light, fan, etc. that the timer will control. Timer controls can influence daily usage of lights and appliances, and as a result, help lower your utility bill, promote energy-efficiency, and reduce your carbon footprint on the environment.