Exact time of day to use appliances to ‘greatly cut energy bills’

With the Ofgem energy price cap set to drop this weekend, Britons are warned they will spend more on energy than they did last winter.

As the days get shorter and temperatures get colder, households will be using more energy, pushing bills up. However, using appliances at specific times is one way that people can save money.

From October 1, 2023, the energy price cap will be set at £1,923 a year for a typical household that uses gas and electricity and pays by Direct Debit.

While the price of electricity remains steady for standard electricity plans, utility companies are increasingly offering time-of-use plans, which charge more for electricity during peak hours but offer cheaper service during off-peak times.

This means households can actually save money on energy bills by running appliances like the dishwasher or washing machine during off hours.

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As Ofgem announced the new energy price cap starting in October, new figures from the Resolution Foundation demonstrate that while the cost per unit of energy is coming down, 7.2 million households in England will spend more than they did last winter.

Britons could make savings by using these ‘time of use’ plans – also known as economy 7 or 10 tariffs. They charge less for electricity that is used outside of peak times. These are “special tariffs” where people pay “a cheaper price for energy at night than during the day”.

Economy 7 offers cheaper rates for off-peak hours and more expensive rates during peak hours, whereas with an Economy 10 plan, people will have 10 hours of cheaper rates over a 24-hour period and their supplier will set these hours.

Exactly when households should run their appliances at night will vary depending on when their suppliers’ off-peak hours are which should be in the contract.

According to the expert, the off-peak hours are between 12am and 7am during winter and 1am to 8am during the summer months.

David Miloshev, a certified electrician at Fantastic Services said: “Using your household appliances only at certain times of the day can greatly cut your energy bills. Exact savings can vary depending on the model of your appliances and the settings you use on them.

“It’s also a good idea to limit the number of times you’re using the tumble dryer and hang your clothes on a drier instead and let them dry naturally.

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“There are also additional tricks to lowering washing machine energy bills including switching to 30C washes and setting it to a high speed spin.”

While it might not be the most convenient, if someone happens to be home during off-peak hours, they can save money on their monthly electricity bill by timing their tasks to these time frames.

Each supplier chooses their own Economy 7 times – so Britons are urged to check with each supplier before committing.

For example, Ovo has a Power Move scheme that will reward customers with £10 a month if they are able to cut their usage between the peak hours of 4pm-7pm to less than 12.5 percent.

The expert also recommended cleaning out the oven every two to three months, or at least twice a year. According to the expert, failing to do so can result in poor performance, increased electricity bills and costly repairs.

Mr Miloshev continued: “Besides using your household appliances during the right times and cleaning them properly, setting the temperature in your house a few degrees lower during certain periods of the day can also show a change in your bills.

“They can go around 10 to 12 percent down a year if you run your heating system just five to 10 degrees lower at night or when you’re not at home.

“Also, shut off the doors of unused rooms. You won’t be heating extra space, and the one you’re using will get warmer quicker, using less energy.”

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