The best time of day to wash and dry clothes to save money on energy bills

As we all look for ways to reduce our energy consumption and keep our bills low, we are increasingly willing to try unconventional solutions to cut costs.

It might surprise you to know that the time of day you use your energy could make a difference to how much you’re paying.

Choosing the cheapest time to do your laundry could reduce your monthly bills – if you’re on the right tariff.

There are special time-of-use tariffs where you pay a cheaper price for energy in the night compared to the day. Experts say using this kind of tariff could cut your bills by up to £120 per year.

However, you do have to think about your lifestyle, the other members of your household and neighbours who might not be able to sleep through the sound of your tumble drier.

You should also always be careful of running appliances overnight when you’re asleep as it can be a fire risk.

How do time-of-use tariffs work?

Time of use tariffs, or TOUs, encourage people to use energy at off-peak times.

According to the Energy Saving Trust: ‘The TOU flexible tariff offers people cheaper electricity prices when demand and energy prices are at their lowest. A household’s smart meter monitors prices and this data can be used to move some types of energy use to cheaper periods, helping to avoid high, peak rate prices.’

These tariffs can work best for people who have storage heaters and a hot water tank, which can be heated up at night when it’s cheapest. This means the hot water and heating for the next day will be provided.

A lot of modern appliances include a timer, so you could also set your washing machine or dishwasher to run during the off-peak time.

This off-peak window is usually a seven-hour period, typically between midnight and 7am – but this can vary.

If you’re not on this kind of tariff, it probably isn’t worth worrying about what time you wash your clothes.

According to Compare the Market, most energy providers charge a flat rate for electricity, so for most of us, it won’t matter when you do your laundry.

Could a time-of-use tariff really save you money?

Figures from Uswitch show that for someone who does two washes per week, this kind of tariff could save you £29 per year.

That breaks down to around 60p per wash, compared to 88p on a standard tariff.

The downside is that if you use your washing machine during the day on a TOU tariff, it would be more expensive – costing 93p per 90 minute cycle.

The actual amount you’ll save will depend on how frequently you wash your clothes, the type of appliance you have, where you live and and the rate your supplier gives you.

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