MARTIN Lewis has revealed how to save money on your washing – 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 costs an annual price of £159.12.
Of course, how much you spend depends on your daily usage, how many people live with you and which model/setting you use.
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Speaking on the new series of his Money Show Live, Martin confirmed it's cheaper for some to do their washing at 10pm.
But it's not the case for everyone.
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Responding to a caller who asked to confirm whether running the machine at night was the best option, he said only if "you have a time-of-use tariff, like ECO 7 or Eco 10 or one of the Octopus time-of-use tariffs."
Most people currently pay the same amount for energy throughout the day and night, unless they are on an Economy 7 or 10 tariff
These give you cheaper rates during the night and more expensive ones in the daytime.
So this means you'll have to be on one of these tariffs to get cheaper rates.
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.
And if you need to run an appliance during peak hours it could end up costing you more.
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.
So far there are two major suppliers providing customers with the scheme.
OVO Energy has announced a trial where customers can save up to £100 on their bills by switching their usage to less busy times of the day.
And Octopus Energy has also said customers will be £100 better off by using its "Saving Sessions" flexibility service.
Other energy suppliers have not yet announced how they will run the scheme.
But you'll need to be on a smart meter no matter which supplier you're with to take advantage of it.
It's expected that households will receive a text, email or letter explaining that if they use less energy during peak hours on set days, they could be paid up to £10 a day if they choose to opt in.
Risks to keep in mind
It can be dangerous to run certain appliances over night.
These risks and pieces of safety advice should be taken seriously – alternative heating appliances such as wood burners, open fires and electrical heaters pose a risk to life.
Here are the things you should keep in mind when running appliances during off-peak times:
- Close all doors as this can help 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.
Other ways to get help with bills
Energy suppliers offer support for those who are struggling to pay their bills.
Those on Universal Credit and older legacy benefits could get over £3,000 in bill support.
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.
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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
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