To turn off or not to turn off - That is the question

I’d always heard that with fluorescent bulbs it’s actually more efficient to leave them on rather than turn them off. This didn’t really make sense to me but I went along with it. I changed my ways after watching Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel (Air Date: December 13, 2006). The MythBusters crew tested a variety of common household bulbs to see if this is true. They measured both the start-up and steady state energy consumption. They found it’s worth it to leave the fluorescent bulb on for 23.3 seconds if leaving the room but the other bulbs were negligible. So no matter what the bulb, it basically uses less energy to turn the bulb off then to leave it on when not in the room. In addition to bulb energy use they also tested longevity and found that turning the bulbs off and on more frequently does not decrease their life span.

Episode 69: 22,000 foot fall, Lights On or Off

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