Should you turn lights off when you leave the room?

There is a lot of debate about whether it is better to flick off the switch or leave lights running when you leave a room.

Some say turning them off lowers your electricity prices, 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 is a breakdown explaining which lights are best left on or off.

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.

Only 10 per cent of the energy they emit transfers to light, while the other 90 per cent converts to heat.

Plus, they do not need any extra time to hit maximum brightness, so there is no initial surge of power needed.


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?

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.

So, turning these lights on and off won't affect your energy bill much but remember that 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

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.

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.

They are also less likely to break as they do not have a fuse or any glass components meaning they can handle vibrations.

If you are 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.