When’s The Cheapest Time To Use My Washing Machine In The UK?

With the ever rising cost of living, we’re all looking for ways to save money wherever we can. One of the areas where we might be able to save some money is when using the washing machine.

I’ve been looking into this and in this article I explain all of the information I’ve discovered. Keep reading to find out more.

Will You Save Money By Doing The Laundry At Night?

person looking at washing machine

Many people are under the impression that doing the laundry at night is the best way to save on energy bills. In some cases, this is true, but it depends on the tariff you have for your electricity supply.

You need to be on a tariff which has different rates like;

  • Economy 7
  • Warmwise
  • Economy 10

These particular tariffs can offer cheaper tariffs at night, but they’re not as easy to find nowadays. Plus Warmwise doesn’t always have better overnight rates because it is designed to reduce heating costs for the home and your water.

You will need to check with your electricity supplier to find out whether it will cost you less to run your washing machine at night. And if it does, find out which hours the cheaper costs apply to. 

If you do happen to be on one of these tariffs you could save up to around 50% of the standard daily rate. However, if you’re not on one of these tariffs, you’re unlikely to save anything by using your washer through the night.

What About EV Tariffs?

Many power suppliers are reintroducing Electric Vehicle (EV) tariffs which offer lower priced electricity at night. They were introduced originally to encourage the usage of electric vehicles but apply to the usage of electricity throughout your home.

Which means an EV tariff could save you money if you use your washing machine during the night. However, to qualify for one of these EV tariffs, you need to own an electric vehicle and have a charge point on your property.

The cheaper energy charges apply to energy used between midnight and 5 am which would mean setting the washer up to run whilst the household was asleep. Some people might not feel comfortable with this sort of set up because things can go wrong with washing machines.

But, it would mean the washing was all finished by the time you wake up in the morning and all you’d need to do was remove it from the machine and get it dry.

Should You Go Onto A Cheaper Night Time Tariff?

Two people putting clothes in a laundry basket from the washer

In 2016, the treasury commissioned a report that found that if families started using their appliances through the night, we would need less power stations overall in the UK. This could mean a saving of around £75 per year on each home’s energy bills. 

If you’re not on a cheaper night time tariff you won’t save any money. But it will help to reduce the pressure on the power infrastructure of the UK. Plus it could eventually reduce the overall cost of electricity.

The biggest demand for energy occurs in the UK in the evenings when people arrive home from work. However this doesn’t typically affect the cost of electricity currently.

In years to come, energy companies might change tariffs and offer incentives for people to use less energy at these peak times.

Do Smart Meters Save Money On Energy Bills?

There has been plenty of speculation concerning smart meters and how they might save us money on our energy bills. In fact the UK government has stated that households with smart meters could save money by restricting their energy usage at peak times.

Some smart meters even do have different rates for peak and off peak energy usage. However, any potential savings from installing a smart meter is at the discretion of the energy company supplying the smart meter.

If you are considering getting a smart meter, I would advise you to do your research and see what’s on offer from the various companies. Even these offers can carry regional differences. Which means what’s available in one part of the UK might not be on offer elsewhere.

Are There Any Other Ways Of Reducing Our Energy Bills When Doing The Laundry?

laundry room with pile of clothes

As technology advances and washing machines become more and more energy efficient, the best way to save energy might be to buy a new washing machine. Certainly if your washer is more than 8 years old, a new appliance will reduce energy usage.

Most of the cost of electricity usage when using a washing machine is derived from heating the water. Switching to a cooler wash cycle whenever possible could drastically reduce your electricity usage.

Modern washing machines all have a 20o C wash cycle option which means using far less energy to heat the water than older appliances with a lowest wash temperature option of 30 or 40o C. 

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Washing Machine?


It’s easy to work out how much it costs to run a washing machine once you know the formula. The formula is W x T = C where W=Watts, T= Time and C=cost.

So if you have a 2100 watt washing machine running for 1 hour it would cost you 2.1 (kw) x the cost of electricity per unit (34p)

2.1 x 34 = 71.4 Which means our 2100 watt washer at a unit price of 34p per unit will cost around 71.5 p per hour to run.

When Is The Cheapest Time To Use The Washing Machine?

As you can see from this article, there is no cheap time to use the washing machine unless you’re on one of the special split tariffs. If you are on one of these tariffs, it will be cheaper to use your washing machine ( and other appliances) from midnight until around 5am.

But even if you don’t save money you might reduce the strain on our power grid which might eventually make the cost of electricity cheaper and help with environmental issues as well.

SEE ALSO: How Much Do Washing Machines Cost To Run?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the least expensive time to run the washing machine?

The least expensive time to run the washing machine is between midnight and 5 am if you are on a split tariff. However, if not, it will cost you the same whenever you use your washer.

What time is off peak electricity in the UK?

The time for off peak electricity in the UK can vary from supplier to supplier and is dependent on you being on a split tariff. The time can be anywhere between 11 pm to 8 am and is typically a 7 hour period between these times.

Is electricity cheaper on weekends in the UK?

Some electricity suppliers offer cheaper rates for power on sundays. British gas for example offer PeakSave Sundays on their smart meters to use electricity at half the standard price during the hours of 11 am and 4 pm on a sunday. This is because they say demand for electricity is typically reduced at these times.

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