Science Questions

How long should you turn off a fluorescent for?

Sun, 20th Jan 2008

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Question

Derek, Belgium. asked:

Love your show, Chris. Can you help us with the following question? Fluorescent lights are already efficient when they’re running but I’ve heard that it takes a lot of energy to turn a fluorescent light tube on. So is it more efficient to turn off a fluorescent tube immediately when you’ve finished using it or is it better to leave it on and then wait until you’re more likely to not use it again for a while?

Answer

In the old days the older technology meant that these lights did consume a lot of energy to start but once they were running they were more efficient.  I think that the new technology with the new starters built into them they’re much better but I don’t know.  If anyone has the answer to that question about the energy consumption and the starting costs of a fluorescent tube, a modern fluorescent tube I’d be very interested to know.

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