Are automatic light switches worth the cost?

Are automatic light switches worth the cost?
WattStopper motion-sensing light switch.
"What am I doing working for the electric company?" I can't tell you how many times my father said that whenever we left a room with the lights on.

Maybe you have a similar problem around your house; family members who constantly forget to turn off the lights.

An automatic light switch will do the job for you.

"A lot of offices have those now, that's real standard for new office buildings and it's just become available for homes," says Tom Watson, King County's EcoConsumer.

Watson says the automatic light switch replaces the traditional on/off switch. "When no one's in a room it will turn the lights off automatically just in a few minutes with the motion detector.

Watson showed me the WattStopper, which sells for around $25. That's much more than a regular light switch. Is it worth the investment?

"Yes," Watson says. "It should pay itself back in a few years, especially if there are people leaving the lights on a lot."

You can find sensor light switches at some local hardware stores, online, and at the Environmental Home Center in South Seattle.