There’s a lot of debate about whether it’s better to flick off the switch or leave lights running when you leave a room. A debate that’s particularly of interest if you regularly compare electricity and gas prices – or are looking into electricity plans with the hope of finding the best electricity deals.

Some say turning off lights lowers what you’re charged from your electricity plan, while others argue the energy consumed when they start up means you’re better off leaving them on.

It turns out the answer to this question depends on the bulb used, so here’s a breakdown explaining which lights are best left on, or off. And how that might affect your electricity plan from utility providers.

Incandescent lights

These older lights are the most costly and inefficient on the market, so they should always be switched off when you’re not using them. What’s more, they’re probably the type you should avoid altogether if you’re counting the figures on your electricity plan.

Only 10 per cent of the energy they emit transfers to light, while the other 90 per cent converts to heat. Plus, they don’t need any extra time to hit maximum brightness, so there is no initial surge of power needed. This means you don’t have to worry about switching them off. This won’t impact your bill – so go right ahead.


Compact fluorescent lights, despite being more energy efficient, are often believed to use more energy upon start up than other lights.

So, should you switch them off when you exit a room? Would it impact the bills you get from electricity retailers and power providers? Let’s find out.

The actual cost of turning one on is minimal – as the inrush current only lasts 1/120th of a second. This uses the same amount of electricity as only a few seconds of normal operation.

Put simply, turning these lights on and off won’t affect your energy bill from utility providers and electricity companies that much. Just remember, these types of bulbs have an operating life. This means their lifespan can be extended by reducing the amount of times you switch them on and off.

Therefore, the best way to ensure you get the most out of your CFL lighting is to turn them off if you plan on leaving the room for more than 15 minutes. Otherwise, you can leave them glowing.

LED lighting

One of the simplest ways to cut energy costs is to upgrade to LED lights. According to Energy Makeovers, Australia’s most trusted energy efficient experts, upgrading old lights to LEDs can decrease your energy bills by as much as 85%.

This type of lighting is energy efficient and has a long operating life, so you can get away with switching these lights on and off as you like – without having to worry about electricity prices and whether it’s worth the leap to actually change electricity providers.

LED lights also turn on with no delay and instantly hit full brightness –so you can flick them off when you leave a room without any concerns. Rest assured, your utility provider won’t hit you with a nasty surprise for doing so. Your electricity plan and it’s pricing is pretty safe.

These bulbs are also less likely to break – as they don’t have a fuse or any glass components, meaning they can handle vibrations.

If you’re concerned about rising electricity prices, changing your light bulbs to more energy efficient models may help you reduce the amount you pay to energy suppliers, because around 11 per cent of your bill goes towards keeping your house lit.

If you’re looking for more ways to reduce your energy consumption, check out Energy Makeovers site for more tips. Since its inception, Energy Makeovers have helped over 250,000 Australian households and business owners save over $45million in reduced electricity costs and are always happy to offer advice to consumers looking for ways to reduce their power consumption.

Get a free energy review

Still concerned? Make it Cheaper can help you compare power and gas, and even switch utility providers should we find you better electricity deals. We’ll connect you with the best electricity providers and best electricity prices so you can sleep soundly (no matter whether the light is on, or off!).

To find out how much you could save on your energy bill call us on 1300 957 721

Author: Nandita Reddy

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