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Cheapest time to wash and dry clothes to save money on energy bills

BILLS have shot up for millions of households as families brace for a tough winter.

The energy price guarantee brought in by the government means the average households’ bills will be around £2,500 a year.

Washing and drying your clothes at night could save you cash

This will go up to around £3,000 a year from next April when the guarantee is extended.

If you are worried about rising costs, there are ways to reduce your outgoings though.

Usually the cost of gas and electric won’t change depending on the time of day, so putting there’s no incentive to use a washing machine or tumble dryer at anti-social hours.

But there are special tariffs that you can sign up to where you pay less depending on the time of day.

They’re called Economy 7 or 10 tariffs and charge you for your electricity usage based on off-peak and on-peak rates.

The off-peak rate usually applies for seven or 10 hours of the night, and the on-peak rate for the other 14 or 17 hours.

We previously revealed how these time-of-use tariffs can slash your bills by as much as £120 a year.

Plus, a number of suppliers are now taking part in the “demand flexibility service” that’s being run from November to March 2023.

Under the scheme, households will be paid to use their appliances at specific times to prevent blackouts.

British Gas, EON and EDF are just a few of the suppliers taking part in the scheme.

For the full list, you can see our guide here.

The scheme has been implemented after the National Grid warned households could face three-hour blackouts this winter.

The company, which is responsible for the UK’s gas and electricity supply, said there might not be enough power for the country if the energy crisis continues.

This might be the case on particularly cold days, when people are using more energy, and the UK’s supplies are pushed to the limit.

Some energy suppliers are offering customers payment holidays to help them through the winter as well.

Octopus Energy announced a huge £40million support package giving dual fuel customers on standard variable tariffs an automatic 4% discount on their standing charges from October 1.

Standing charges are the basic daily cost you need to pay to your supplier regardless of how much energy you use.

OVO Energy said customers on prepayment meters can get debt payment holidays this winter as well.

The supplier announced customers who are struggling with rising energy prices can access a new £50million customer support package as of October 1.

Economy tariffs – how do they work?

Economy 7 or 10 tariffs are sometimes referred to as a “differential” or “multi-tariff rate”.

They can be a cheaper energy option than other price plans because you’ll commit to using most of your energy at night.

This means you can get a good discount for the units you use during the off-peak hours.

These tariffs are best suited to people with storage heaters and a hot water tank, which can be heated up at night when it’s cheapest and then used to provide hot water and heating for the next day.

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

How much could I save?

The exact savings you can make will vary depending on the type of appliance you have and the settings they’re on.

Plus, you should be careful of running electrical appliances like these overnight when you’re asleep as it can be a fire risk.

But you can save up to hundreds of pounds.

Savvy saver Scott Dixon previously told The Sun he saves £725 a year on his Economy 7 tariff.

More ways to save on your laundry costs

You could also reduce the cost by doing an extra 10 minute spin in the washing machine to get it more dry beforehand.

Will Owen, energy expert at, previously told The Sun that tumble dryers are one of the most energy intensive devices in the home.

Owen said: “The longer your tumble dryer’s cycle, the more money it will cost you.

“If your clothes are dripping wet, it will have to run much longer to get them dry, increasing your energy bill dramatically.”

“Also keep in mind that overloading the drum is likely to put your machine under strain and end up costing you more in the long run, while underloading the device will waste energy.”

Energy experts at Energyhelpline estimate that a tumble dryer uses around £1 worth of electricity per cycle – but a washing machine uses only around 15p.

Turning down the cycle heat, or just giving your tumble dryer a good clear out could aid in reducing your bill.

Following the steps should knock the annual cost down to around £60 on average, and they are simple enough changes to make everyday.

Lisa Barber, Which? home products and services editor, said: “One of the easiest things people can do is to reduce washing machine temperatures, as switching to 30°C could save £13 in annual costs, while 20°C could cut £24.

“Maintaining your tumble dryer could trim your bill, as filters blocking up with dust and lint from clothes can add nearly £20 to annual laundry costs.

“Making the switch to a Which? Best Buy detergent could also save people close to £50 a year, with some cheap Best Buys costing as little as 7p per wash.”

Meanwhile, the Good Housekeeping Institute reckons you should wash jeans, jumpers and towels after every three uses. But if they look and smell OK, hold off for the sake of the planet — and your wallet.

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