Not everyone’s keen on fluorescent lights

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Q: I have a question about fluorescent bulbs and power usage. I have been told that fluorescents draw the most power when they are turned on and almost no power to keep on. Therefore, they should be turned on and left on, and should not be turned on and off during the day because it would end up using more power in the process. Is that true? --Richard C., via e-mail. A: A fluorescent light does consume some additional energy when first starting up. This is known as "inrush current," and is equal to about five times what the operating current is. However, with today's rapid-start bulbs, that initial surge only lasts for half of one cycle. Electrical current is 60 cycles per second, so the initial startup surge lasts only for approximately 1/120 of a second. In other words, you would have to turn the lamp off only for a couple of seconds to save the equivalent amount of energy that it takes to turn it on again. With any type of light bulb in your home -- incandescent or the ...