To turn, or not to turn?

Scientific American answers a question I have often wondered: should you turn off a fluorescent light if you're going to turn it right back on again? I have always been told that there is a big energy draw in turning them on, therefore you should leave them on if you're just leaving the room for a little while... but how long is a little while?

Turns out the energy draw is minimal and equivalent to just a few seconds' worth of bulb-burning electricity. The real issue is that you're shortening the life of the bulb by cycling it -- so the more cycles you give it, the shorter your bulb will last. They suggest a rule of thumb of: < 5 minutes, leave it on. > 5 minutes, turn it off. Works for me.

Side note: Apparently I have always misspelled 'fluorescent' -- I had no idea the 'u' comes before the 'o'.


Allen said...

I had no idea. This is helpful actually. We have one in our kitchen. Thanks!

Fogey said...

It rings more true for combustion engines. Like how silly it would be to turn off your engine every time you stopped while waiting in line at taco bell.