When Is It Cheaper To Do Laundry In UK?

With fuel bills rising at an unprecedented rate and many households uncertain as to how they’re going to afford to perform basic household tasks, we look into whether there’s a cheaper time to do the laundry in the UK. There’s no point shopping around for cheaper suppliers as many have gone bust.

The cost of using a washing machine depends on a few variables which include how energy efficient your machine is, which tariff you are on and the temperature you wash your laundry at.

Does It Cost Less To Do The Laundry In The Evening?

It could potentially be cheaper to do your washing during the evening but there’s no guarantee. It depends which tariff you are on, some people could be getting cheaper electricity during the hours of darkness but only if you have a two-rate meter. A two-rate meter user gets cheaper electricity during the hours between midnight and 7am.

However, it’s not advisable to leave the washing machine running through the night when you’re asleep because of the potential fire risk. The alternative could be to wash during off-peak hours, which are basically any time other than between 4pm in the afternoon and 7pm in the evening.

Again this is dependent on the tariff you are on and whether you’re using a plan like Economy 7 or Time Of Use (TOU) which offer lower prices during off-peak hours of demand to encourage less demand on the system at peak-times.

Does Cheaper Off-Peak Power Apply To Everyone?

Most energy suppliers offer a flat rate when it comes to electricity so for the majority of users in the UK that means cheaper off-peak power doesn’t apply for most of us. But don’t despair as most two-rate meter deals charge more for daytime usage so even if you were on a two-rate deal, you could potentially be paying more than standard rates.

As energy prices rise even higher, the experts over at the Energy Saving Trust[1] have said it doesn’t recommend changing your supplier right now.

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How Can You Save On Your Laundry Bills?

As energy prices soar, there are other ways to save on the costs of doing the laundry. You can;

  • Wash at 30°C instead of 40°C
    This simple act could save up to 40% of the energy used per year.
  • Dry washing on a clothesline or drying rack instead of using a tumble dryer
    Air drying washing is free whereas the average tumble dryer uses 4.5 kWh per cycle, which is the most energy of all standard cleaning appliances. So to maximise your savings, dry clothes outdoors or on a drying rack.
  • Save the washing until there’s a full load
    The washing machine will take the same amount of time and use the same amount of power whether it’s ½ full or completely full. By only washing a full load you could potentially save up to 50% of the energy used annually using a washing machine.
  • Use Bio capsules or bio detergent
    When using the washing machine at lower temperatures you should also use bio detergent because the enzymes found in bio detergents are activated at lower temperatures which means your washing will be cleaner even at lower washing temperature settings.
  • Keep your washing machine in tip top condition
    Make sure filters are cleaned regularly, remove all signs of mould and check the door seals and pipework for leaks etc. This can and will save you money in the long run. If possible pour a cup of white vinegar into the detergent drawer along with your regular detergent to keep your machine clean.
  • Use Dryer balls in the tumble dryer
    If you do use your tumble dryer, using dryer balls helps separate your clothes which exposes them to more airflow. This will reduce the overall drying time needed to dry your clothes which saves energy. Given the choice between wool or rubber drying balls, go for woollen as these soak up moisture which will cut drying time even more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it cheaper to do laundry at night in the UK?

Whether it’s cheaper to do laundry at night in the UK depends on the tariff you’re on. Two-rate tariffs like Economy7 or Time Of Use (TOU) have certain times when power consumption is charged at a cheaper rate. However, it is not safe to leave a washing machine unattended while you sleep and the day-rate is higher so effectively you’re not much better off.

Is electricity cheaper at night in the UK?

Electricity isn’t cheap at any time in the UK. But it can cost slightly less if you have a tariff such as Economy7 which charges slightly more during the day and is cheaper during the hours of midnight and 7am. 

What are off-peak hours?

Off-peak hours are the times when a product or service is in the least demand. These products or services are often charged cheaper during off-peak periods.

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