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Celi
Lv 5
Celi asked in EnvironmentGreen Living · 1 decade ago

Question about energy-saving light bulbs----ok to turn on/off quickly?

This may sound like a stupid question, but somewhere I heard that it draws more energy to turn one on for just a few seconds and then off again, if you're going to come back and turn it on a short time later............so, is it better to turn on and leave on for a while if the light will be needed again soon? Our electricity costs are going up by 50% (!), so, in addition to long-standing environmental concerns, I've got a new motivation to minimize usage!

Update:

Very helpful answers so far.......but I see by Don's response, below, that I might not have made myself clear (no pun intended!)------I AM talking about CF bulbs. Thanks!

9 Answers

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  • BAL
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You must live in Maryland. I keep seeing posts from people there who are now paying real electricity prices!

    It won't do you, the bulb or your electric bill any harm to turn the CFL bulbs on and off. They have electronic circuitry that is not like the ballast tubes in old flourescent tubes.

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  • Don K
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    It is not going to be enough extra current draw to matter if you are just going to be gone for a couple of minutes.

    However, if you were to stand by the switch and flip it on and off for a while you would burn it out. So give a coin toss.

    The best thing to do is switch to CF bulbs. They last a lot longer and use about a third as much power. You would make a big savings in money and help the environment. I have switched all of my lighting and installed Solar Electric. Something you should think about is getting a kill-a-Watt meter and hooking it to your TV set and Computer. You will find that even when these two items are turned off they still use about 20 watts of power each. That times 24 hours a day ads up. If you are like me and have 4 TV sets and 3 computers you would wast 140 watts of power per hour or 3,360 (3.3 kWh) watts per day. Put power strips on these items so you can switch off the power.

    If you need a kill-a-watt meter check out this page.

    P3 International Kill-A-Watt Meter

    http://store.oynot.com/solar-meters.html

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  • enord
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Energy-saving lightbulb, compact fluorescent, has mercury in it and a ballast. I read the package once which said the bulb would last 10,000 hours and that every time the bulb was turned on again after being shut off it took two hours of life off the bulb. So every time you shut the bulb off you diminish its life significantly. Once you are aware of this fact you will find yourself leaving the bulbs on because they don't cost that much to run, approximately one quarter of the cost of conventional bulbs. What I found my case was that I would actually leave the bulbs on all the time and figured that in the long run I was leaving the energy-saving lightbulbs on so long that it actually used more energy than the conventional bulbs!

    Education is the key. If you have a light situation that demands constant usage compact fluorescent is ideal. If you have a light that you only use for a minute or two, stick to conventional bulbs so you're not prone to leave them on.

    Eventually the disposal of the mercury from these bulbs is going to present a problem.

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  • I've heard that from light bulbs to car engines (not including diesel) turning whatever it is on and off takes up no more than the same energy it would use to keep it on for 12 seconds. So in other words, if you're going to be gone longer than 12 seconds, it's worth turning off and turning back on again.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Its true... to a point. On a compact-flourescent information site (I don't know where sorry) It had this guide for you. If you have incandescent bulbs turn them off anytime you leave the room. If you have conventional tube flourescents turn them off if your leaving for 15minutes or more. If you have compact flourescents turn them off if you'll be back within the hour.

    Of course if you know you don't plan to come back just turn them off. The guide has more to do with prolonging bulb life than the energy savings. Off is always the best saver.

    Browse around here for the wealth of other information on reducing electricity.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It was true for the very, very first tube lights 50 years ago.

    It was because the starter drew a lot of current.

    The energy saving bulbs are all electronic, they have electronic starters and they're fine.

    Use they just like you would use a regular bulb.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I think it may be an issue as the 5yr plus lifespan claimed is down to about 6months in our house.

    So far they have cost far more than they have saved.

    It isn't cost effective if your coming back and forth even every half hour or so, just leave it on. If you use AC the fact they produce less heat will also be noticeable in the long term

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  • Bob
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Turn them off if it's going to be more than a couple of minutes.

    The current surge when you turn one on is very small. The main problem is that you shorten the life of the bulb a little.

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  • 1 decade ago

    i don't know but i don't think that this is true

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