It’s the age old question: Should I turn off my computer at night, or leave it on?

We’ve always been told that it’s “bad for the electronics” to keep turning a computer off and on, and it’s better for the life of the computer just to leave it on all the time. I am here to set the record straight: Turning off your computer is not damaging.

The theory behind this myth is this: turning on a computer ran electricity through all the components and they heated up and expanded. Then turning it off cooled down the components and they contracted. Expand, contract, expand, contract– over time that is damaging to the computer. It’s simply not true. How many people do you know that leave their TV’s on all day to “protect the electronics”? No one. And modern TV’s have most of the same components that a computer has.

Here is some more good news about powering off your computer regularly: It will save you money.

An average company of ten spends over $2600 every year to power computers no one is using.

Consider a company of 10 employees, working normal business hours, all using Dell Optiplex 3010 computers. These are the computers we are currently recommending to our clients. Over the course of an average year, most computers are only in normal use about 37% of the time.

At current electricity rates, this company would be paying $2655.30 every year just to power computers that no one is using! Compare that to the company who has their employees put their computers into sleep or standby mode when they leave for the day: $63.73 for the year. That is enough savings to pay for new computers for the whole company every 3 years, which is about how often they should be replaced anyway. From just turning off computers at night, this company can have free computers for life.

Similarly, most families using the same computer can save over $200 per year by putting it into standby when no one is at home.

Unfortunately, not everyone can turn their computers off when they leave. Some people do work from home and need to remotely access their computers. Some computers do a lot of calculation work during non-business hours. IT providers often do regular maintenance to computers during these off-hours. However, much of the IT work can be scheduled and condensed to the weekend, and most people don’t need to access their computers from home. Even accounting for the ones that do, your company can find significant financial saving, as well as reduced environmental impact, merely by putting computers to sleep when they are not needed.