How to Save Electricity When Doing Laundry

how to save electricity during laundry

Did you know you can save a significant amount of money on your electric bill just by doing your laundry at the “right” time of day? It’s true, but there is a trick to it. That’s because the best time for laundry changes from month to month. The good news is that the technique to save energy and eventually save on your electricity bill is simple to learn. Here’s all you need to know to save electricity and money when doing laundry.

When is the Best Time to Do Laundry?

The best time for laundry changes with each season. That’s primarily because public energy demand changes as temperatures rise and fall. Some people use a simple phrase to remember the general philosophy about the best time to do laundry: “winter late, summer early.” Figuring out how to save on your electricity bill can mean big savings, so remember that phrase and we’ll look at why it makes so much sense and is so valuable.

Doing laundry at non-peak energy demand times means you’ll always get a lower-cost source of electricity and can take advantage of off-peak rates. Most electricity providers charge more when demand is highest. So it only makes sense to opt for low-demand times when doing your laundry. Here’s a quick guide to each season’s best laundry times:

Winter: Remember the saying, “winter late, summer early.” In winter months, people tend to ramp up their heaters early in the day and cut them off in the late evening. And because HVAC systems are one of the biggest energy guzzlers in a typical home, that means off-peak times during winter are late at night. Do you winter washing chores before bed or slightly later and you’ll get the best deal on electric rates.

Summer: The summer strategy is the exact opposite of winter. In summer months, people don’t begin using their AC units until later in the day when it becomes hot—it’s smartest to do your laundry early in the morning. Try to get in the habit, during the summer, of washing your clothes as soon as you wake up in the morning. You’ll be “beating the system” in a way by opting for off-peak energy prices and thus have a lower monthly utility bill.

Spring and Fall: Use your judgment based on the climate in your local area. Remember that if it’s colder than average, and thus more winter-like, you’ll want to wash in the later evening to avoid peak usage times. But if your local spring weather is more summer-like, then use the strategy for summertime washing and do your wash in the early morning hours.

How Can You Save Money When Doing Laundry?

In addition to aiming for non-peak usage times for doing laundry, there are a few other sure-fire guidelines for saving money on laundry. However, these strategies are not geared toward the time of the day but rather taking advantage of how washing machines work. For example, your machine probably has a “small” and “large” setting for loads, as well as different settings for water temperature. You can also set different cycle lengths, remove the dryer filter, and opt to not put every item in the dryer.

In short, here are five key strategies for minimizing your wash-day electric usage:

  • Use shortest cycle: Your clothes will get just as clean even if you use the shortest cycles. Most washers are designed to get standard laundry loads perfectly clean on the “short cycle” setting, and nearly every washing machine manufactured today has several different settings. You can simply put your washer’s indicator knob to “short-cycle” and leave it there. This is one of the simplest ways to cut your energy bill with zero effort on your part.
  • Clean dryer lint catcher/screen regularly: Dryers work most efficiently when their lint catchers/screens are clear. If you routinely forget to clean your screen after each load of drying, post a sticky note on a wall in your washroom so you will remember. It only takes a few seconds but it will save you money every time you run the dryer.
  • Set dryer to “air” or hang-dry some items: If you have wet clothing items that are very thin and lightweight, consider using your dryer’s “air only” setting. This typically runs for the same length of time but uses no heat. Or, take a few larger items and hang them to dry rather than put them in the dryer. Using the “air only” setting and hanging some items on a line to dry in the open air will significantly cut your electricity usage at wash time.
  • Use full-water loads: Always use full loads. This is a matter of efficiency because it takes the same amount of electricity to do a large load as it does a small one. Don’t waste space, time, or energy by doing small loads.
  • Wash in cold water: Use cold water as the default setting on your washer. Unless you have items that must be done in hot water, using cold 99 percent of the time will cut your energy usage by a lot.

Making a Concerted Effort

Everyone wants to save energy and save on their electricity bill. It’s human nature to want to spend less money. For most consumers, learning common tips to save electricity can cut monthly expenses quite a bit. But there’s a lot more to saving money than using a handful of tips to save electricity. You need to know what to do, and when to do it. Knowing to use short wash cycles, for example, goes hand in hand with knowing the best time to do laundry on weekends.

Combine the laundry tips listed above with the strategy of washing at the non-peak demand times and you’ll be well on your way to cutting your energy bill every month of the year.

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