Throughout all of our comments about making homes comfortable and safe for Empty Nesters the focus has been on safety. That has led us through comments about lighting, door sizes, throw rugs, door handles, and a myriad of other things that all revolve around making a home safe.
Today let's take a look at something that is so simple and so easy but yet can have such a huge impact on our daily lives.
Every time we enter a dark room we all instinctively reach for the switch that will turn the lights on and make everything more safe. Typically those switches are 48" up off the floor. Here's today's suggestion - how about we change the height of the switches from 48" off the floor to 42". That way it is a lot easier to reach especially if someone is having mobility difficulties. And, if we want to truly improve on the ease of light switches let's make sure those switches are illuminated. In the dark it is so much easier to find the light switch if it is lit up. Let's face it we all have stumbled around in the dark trying to find the #%?@$!! light switch. In the middle of the night that can be a far less than pleasant adventure. I'm thinking that in the middle of the night in the pitch black dark it would be worth at least a million bucks if the light switch had a tiny light in it.
Speaking of stumbling around in the pitch black dark of night - a constant theme that is heard - soft night time lighting. Typically we all think of the "old-time" night light that was either too bright or far less than satisfactory. With the advent of LED lighting we can have soft night lights gently illuminating our homes and yet using almost no electricity. The other day I was in one of the Big Box stores and saw small LED night lights that came in a pack of four for less than $10. These were especially nice as they came on automatically at dusk and turned off at dawn. The advertisement said they have a life of ten years; think about it - that's amazing. But the big surprise comes in know that each one of these night lights uses less than one-half of one watt of electricity, or exactly 0.3 watts. Each night light is apt to cost you 25 cents for an entire year. Egad, that's about 2 cents each month. How can you beat that? Plug them in, they will last for ten years, and cost 2 cents each month. I'm thinking that is cheap safety. As I was writing this entry I chose to order a set for my house from one of the many online sales places, that's how good of an idea I think this can be.
Let's face it, all it will take is to slip and fall just once. That fall could easily result in a significant injury. Many of us Empty Nester folks slip/fall and end up in the hospital with a broken something. Ok, at the end of it all everything works out all right but the financial problems from that one silly fall can be catastrophic. I just spent $9.47 for automatic dusk to dawn LED night lights. Please mark on your calendar to give me a call on April 10, 2025 (ten years from today), I'll let you know how many of these night lights have burned out.
Throughout your home the use of incandescent light bulbs has significantly declined in recent years as they are so Energy Inefficient. The typical old-fashioned light bulb uses 90% of the energy to create heat and only 10% of the energy to create light. Obviously this is foolish. Not only does that amount of energy consumption pollute the atmosphere it is financially dumb. Several years ago the use of Compact Fluorescent Lights became wide spread. These are the curly-clue type of bulbs that can use so much less energy. Remember when these first became available, the typical CFL would cost upwards of $10 to $20 for just one bulb. Fortunately, the government helped us out by providing rebates and financial incentives so that the CFL is now used just about everywhere. The problem with CFL's is that each bulb contains a very small amount of mercury that is harmful. The widespread use of CFL's greatly reduces the Greenhouse Effect caused by generating electricity. Do you know that the small amount of mercury in each bulb, roughly 4 milligrams, is far less than the amount of mercury NOT used because of the energy efficiency?
Lately the use of LED bulbs is rapidly overtaking CLF bulbs and all this is great for energy efficiency. We will talk more about LED's another day