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124. IdeaSpark*: Time-delay Light Switch January 12, 2007

Posted by Matt Fleming, PsyD in IdeaSpark*, Product.

Late at night, the master bathroom light is usually on so I can find my way to my bedroom, where my wife is sleeping in the relative dark. Once I turn off that light, it’s pitch black, so I have to guide myself to my side of the bed using my cell phone’s light to keep from stubbing my toes.

I wish they would make a time-delay light switch, with easy installation. That way, you flip the switch, but you have 5 seconds to get to your side of the bed and tucked in before the light actually goes off.



1. Carol - January 12, 2007

This speaks to me!! I about broke my toe on some weights that my daughter (hmm) left in the middle of the bedroom after working out! A time delay switch would have saved us both-let’s work on this one:)

2. Steve - February 12, 2007

I am in the process of updating a home on Cape Cod that was built in 1965 & the front porch exterior light has a switch that (a) if you turn it on it will stay on (b) if you turn it on and then off, it will stay on for 30-40 seconds and then you hear a click in the switch and it goes off. It looks like a normal light switch. The previous owner was an electrician????? I love the feature but I am replacing all the switches and plugs. I went to the local electrical supply store and they acted like I had 2 heads. I am in the hunt for this type switch also! It existed in 1965…..

Tyler - July 18, 2016

Where I work there’s a building that was built in the 70s and it also has of of these switches. I’ve been asked to replace it (the time lag isn’t lasting very long these days) and I can’t find them anywhere. The closest I can find is a timer switch (search Enerlites HET06A Countdown Timer Switch on Amazon) but apparently, in order to use the regular on/off feature of the switch (to where you can turn the light on and leave it on until you turn it off), you have to push and hold the main button for 6 or 7 second. No one wants to do that for normal light switch use.

3. SparkBugg - February 13, 2007


Thanks for your comment. Sometimes great ideas remain buried. Good luck in your search. Keep us posted!


4. Ben - March 10, 2007

Steve, Carol,

I don’t know if this will help, but I recently renovated my home and installed Luton switches throughout. Their MAESTRO series of dimmers available at any Home Depot has an off delay feature that might serve your purposes. They are rocker type/paddle type switches. Pesss once and the lights come on, press again and they go off, press and hold for a few seconds and they begin a slow dim to off giving you time to get in bed, exit the room, etc.

Hope that helps.

5. Mark - April 7, 2007

A time delay light switch, versus a time of day switch, is something I’ve sought. I seek something really simple– turned off a bathroom fan or the lights in the basement after a delay so I don’t have to trek to do it. I have found patents for them, but no products.

If anyone knows of such a device let me know.


Anonymous - May 3, 2011


Soon this product will come as spark proofer. which eliminates spark from the device getting damaged.i am going to introduce this product in the market near future.


6. chris bryant - April 24, 2007

i lived in an appartment in london that had self illuminated, 3 minute off delayed switches along the stairway. plenty of time to get up to your appartment. a very simple energy saving device. this was, i should add, almost 15 years ago!! you would think these days they’d be easy to find? i’m still looking…

7. Sandy Kelley - June 17, 2007

To anyone who is looking for the light switches that hotels have mainly in corridors, then you need to search for a Time Lag Switch. You can look on Ebay, where I found some or got to http://diou.en.alibaba.com/product/50073978/50699559/Energy_Saving_Switches/Touch_time_lag_switch.html
Or http://www.cpelectronics.co.uk/catTimelag.htm

8. Ewan - October 7, 2007

They seem to be callled Time Lag switches. You can find some on the web, such as tlc-direct.com. Some mechanically timed, some electircally.

9. Ewan - October 7, 2007

I mean’t tlc-direct.co.uk. Apologies. Under the Timers->Time Lag Siwtches section.

10. SparkBugg - October 10, 2007

Thanks, Ewan. Of course this idea existed somewhere. Too bad it is pretty hard to find for most folks.


11. Arnold - October 30, 2007

I am manufactureing time delay switches. The operation is as follows. Once you turn the light on it will switch on with a dusk function. Once you switch it off it will dim to 80% after 1 minute it will dim to 50% and after another minute it will switch off. I am looking for distrubitors. The switch can handle 220VAC , 400 watt, 50 HZ.

Frank White - December 18, 2009

Please email me frankjwhite@hotmail.com

12. Arnold - February 22, 2008

I can supply delay switches. send e-mail to arnold@x10home.co.za

13. LeEric - November 10, 2008

Here is one for a bathroom fan or simular.


$34.95 plus ship. and you can ship parcel Ya!

14. jeffr - February 7, 2009

In my bedroom I use a motion sensing night light, works great, if you get up during the night it comes on without fumbling for a switch, shuts off after a minute or two. Can be found at any home or hardware store.

15. Peter - October 26, 2009

When I was a kid, one of the houses we lived in, my parents’ room had such a switch. I know it was more than a few seconds. I do not know if they are still available, but a motion-sensing switch should do the job. They can be programmed for specific time delays. The only problem I can see is if you toss and turn too much the light may come back on. The sensitivity can be adjusted as well, but is tricky.

16. Anonymous - November 15, 2011

Also you can check out M.S. Electronics – they do a range of Time Lag Switches

17. Anonymous - November 15, 2011
18. Bathroom Installation Service Luton - November 1, 2012

Hey there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I’ll definitely digg it and individually recommend to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this web site.

19. Lee - March 22, 2014

Well I have one. I got it at ACE Hardware 30 some odd years ago but can’t seem to find one or anyone that knows what I am talking about. Mine only delays about 20 seconds, I would prefer longer. Well it stopped working. I took it apart and sprong parts just jumped out. It took me some time to figure out were everything went and what might have gone wrong. It works now. I ended up with one little piece of insulating fiber I could never figure a place for so one day it probably will stop working again. The patent number 2735671 helped a bit.

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