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Leaving Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Bulbs On All Day

Turning a CFL on and off frequently can shorten its life. However, because of the many different products and usages, it is difficult to determine exactly how much. In order to take full advantage of the energy savings and long life of Energy Star qualified CFLs, it is best to use them in light fixtures you use most and are on for at least 15 minutes at a time. We are not recommending that you leave CFLs on all day. It is still a good habit to turn the lights off when you leave the room for an extended period of time.


Some of you may have heard that CFLs use a lot of energy when turning on and off. While there is a short surge in energy use when a CFL is turned on, with today's starting technology, that surge usually lasts about a tenth of a second and uses about as much energy as five seconds of normal operation. So, even when turned on and off frequently, a CFL uses less energy than the incandescent equivalent. But because turning a CFL on and off more frequently can shorten its life and CFLs are more expensive than incandescents, we recommend that you use CFLs in applications where they are on for at least fifteen minutes.


Prevent Energy Waste and Lower Your Electricity Bill


  1. Enable the Energy Star power management settings on your computer and monitor, so they go into power save mode when not in use.

  2. Use a power strip to "turn off" the power when you are done using equipment, which completely disconnects the power supply. You can use one for your computer and all peripheral equipment, and another for your home electronics (TV, VCR, DVD, stereo, game consoles). Keep in mind that if you've set a timer such as programming a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to record a program, then the electronics must remain plugged in (and able to draw standby power) to function as intended.

  3. Unplug your chargers: cell phone chargers, camera chargers, battery chargers or power adapters, etc. These are drawing some amount of energy even when not in use.

  4. Unplug your mini-appliances: shredders, copiers, toasters, microwaves, radios and hair appliances. These are drawing some amount of energy even when not in use.


Savings From Programmable Thermostats


It is a common mistake that it takes more energy to heat up a cold house than it does to keep a house warm all the time. Turning down the thermostat will always save energy, and so will turning up the air conditioner temperature setting. Heat moves from hot to cold, and the rate of heat transfer increases with greater temperature differences. Smaller temperature differences between your house and outside usually means you’ll lose less heat (or air conditioning) from inside the house to the outside. Therefore, you will save energy by only heating or cooling as much as necessary.

If your concern is comfort, or waiting for your house to heat up or cool down after you get home, invest in a programmable thermostat, it can begin to heat or cool your home 30-60 minutes before you get home, so the temperature is just right when you get there. Through proper use of a programmable thermostat (using the 4 pre-programmed settings) you can save about $180 every year in energy costs for a typical, single-family home.


Energy Star or 95% Efficient Furnaces have efficient fans which blow the heated air through the heating ducts. These efficient fans will save electricity in addition to fuel in the winter because there is minimal heat loss.  Also, if you have central air conditioning, the fan will save you money in the summer as well because the same fan blows cold air through the ducts with little cold air loss.

CFL Bulbs
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