One of the things that (used to) happens around my household is that lights and bathroom fans get left on, a lot. There have been days I’ve come home and found the bathroom light and fan on, and it had been running all day. Once after a weekend trip, I discovered our walk in closet light AND the bathroom fan had been left on since Friday night. Lots of wasted electricity there.
With small children, that can easily (and does) happen. Adults often make the same mistake because they don’t want to leave the bathroom, ahem, odoriferous for the next person, so they leave the fan on then forget to turn it off.
I’ve solved the problem with a simple light/fan timer switch, available at Lowe’s for under $25.
Just push the button once, and you get 10 minutes of fan time, plenty of time to do the job. Push again for extra time if you’ve spent all that time reading the newspaper or magazine.
All the bathrooms have this now. So does our walk in closet. I’ve also installed this same switch on my front porch lights (the one that does 1-12 hours) and on my living room indirect soft lighting so as not to forget it when we retire for the night.
I had looked at the units that sense body heat (IR) but found they can’t handle motor loads (fans) or fluorescent lights with ballasts, so this was the next best thing.
Wasted electricity is no longer a worry with me. Sure it will take awhile to recoup the costs, but the minimized annoyance at discovering fans and lights left on is well worth it now.