MARTIN Lewis has revealed a time of day you should never use your washing machine – but it won’t work for everyone.
The consumer expert shared the tip as many battle the rising cost of living.
Vampire appliances like the washing machine can quickly add to bills if you’re not careful.
At the moment, a household of two adults and two children does an average 468 loads of washing a year – equivalent to 1.3 loads a day.
For these households, the cost of running a washing machine right now costs an annual price of £159.12.
This will likely change when the price cap rises to £3,000 next April thanks to Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Budget – up from the previous figure of £2,500.
Of course, how much you spend depends on your daily usage, how many people live with you and which model/setting you use.
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, Martin confirmed it’s pricier for some to do their washing between 4pm and 7pm.
He said avoiding these times would help households avoid winter blackouts.
But it won’t work for everyone.
You’ll need to be on an Economy 7 or 10 tariff to make use of cheaper time periods – these give you cheaper rates during the night and more expensive ones in the daytime.
If you’re not on one of these tariffs, you’ll most likely pay the same amount for energy throughout the day and night.
Martin said: “The rough rule of thumb is that you want storage heaters and 40% or more of your electric to be in overnight period to be worthwhile.
“If your house isn’t set up to do that, don’t bother.”
The cheapest rates are usually available between 11pm and 8am.
But it depends which supplier you are with as they may vary.
However, be warned – leaving household appliances on at night while you’re asleep could be a fire risk, so make sure you’re awake.
To avoid danger, you should:
- Close all doors to prevent fire and smoke from spreading.
- Switch off and unplug electrical items such as TVs.
- Avoid charging devices like mobile phones when you sleep.
- Make sure any candles are out before you go to bed.
- Check your cooker and heaters are turned off.
The advice comes as people are being encouraged to sign up with their electricity supplier for a scheme which will give them money back on their bills.
To get the money back, customers will be expected to shift their use of power away from times of high demand to help prevent blackouts.
That could mean putting on the dishwasher or washing machine overnight or charging an electric vehicle at off-peak times.
The “demand flexibility service” will run from November to March, and it is being introduced to help prevent blackouts.
Other ways to get help with bills
As part of the Autumn Statement yesterday, it was revealed millions on benefits and Universal Credit will receive an extra one-off £900.
Eight million households currently get cost of living payments worth up to £650, but eligibility criteria could change under any new rules.
At the moment, you’re eligible if you claim the following:
- Universal Credit
- Job Seeker’s Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
Pensioners will also be getting a £300 one-off payment.
You qualify under the current rules if you normally get the Winter Fuel Payment, but this could change under the new rules.
The £300 cost of living payment is paid on top of the other winter support.
You’ll need to be:
- born on or before 25 September 1956
- have lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 19 to 25 September 2022 in what is known as the “qualifying week”
The scheme is where eligible households can get £150 off their electricity bill each winter – but you’ll have to wait until the colder months to get the money off.
Households in England and Wales don’t need to apply to get the cash and they’ll automatically qualify if they are receiving certain benefits.
You can read more about who’s eligible here.
There are plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you’re struggling.
British Gas has recently confirmed that it’ll pay its most vulnerable customers grants worth £750 to help with sky-high bills.
Ask your supplier what’s on offer and how to apply, or check here:
- British Gas Energy Trust
- Bulb energy fund
- EDF’s energy customer support fund
- E.on’s energy fund
- Npower’s energy fund
- Ovo’s debt and energy assistance
- Scottish Power’s hardship fund
There’s also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you’re on a prepayment metre.
You can also contact the following if you’re really struggling – help is just around the corner:
- Money Advice Service – 0800 138 7777
- Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060
- StepChange – 0800 138 1111
- National Debtline – 0808 808 4000