When is the best time to do laundry?

When is the best time to do laundry?

Learn how you can save energy and be more efficient on laundry day.

Hannah Bastawrose (Seeger) By Hannah Bastawrose (Seeger)

When is the best time to do your laundry to spend the least amount on your utility bills?

We got you covered!

This is as easy as knowing when you are charged the most for your utility bills.

Step 1: Know what utilities you'll be using

Let's go through this step by step.

Depending on the type of machines you have, you may be using water, electricity, and natural gas.

Electricity powers both the washer and dryer.

Water, of course, washes the clothes,

Natural gas could be heating the water and the dryer, depending on the type of water heater and dryer you have.

For residential utilities, it is common for natural gas and water to be at a flat rate. Meaning, you are paying the same amount for these utilities no matter what time or day it is. The utility companies will change these prices at certain intervals, depending on outside factors like market price, availability, and demand but this is outside of our control.

For the sake of this article, we will assume the prices for natural gas and water do not change. Which leaves us with electricity.

Step 2: Know the Type of Electricity Rate You Have

The cost of electricity and how it is charged varies across the United States. However, we are seeing a general trend in how it is changing.

In this article, we will give you what you need to look for.

In general, there are 3 different types of rates:

  • Flat Rate

  • Tiered Rate

  • Time of Use (TOU) Rate

Flat Rate

Flat Rate: the charge remains the same

Tiered Rate

Tiered Rate: The charge changes with how much energy you are using. It is common to have 2 or 3 tiers. To explain, let's use an example.

  • 200 kWh at $0.09/kWh

  • 201kWh - 400kWh $0.12/kWh

  • '>400kWh $0.14/kWh

For this rate, if you consumed 200kWh or less in a month, you will be charged at $0.09/kWh.

If you consumed 240kWh, then 200kWh will be charged at $0.09/kWh, and 40kWh will be charged at $0.12/kWh.

  • 200 kWh $0.09/kWh $18.00

  • 40kWh $0.12/kWh $4.80

Total = $22.80

If you consumed anything greater than 400 kWh, let's say 520 kWh, then your charges will look like the following:

  • 200 kWh $0.09/kWh $18.00

  • 200kWh $0.12/kWh $24.00

  • 120kWh $0.14/kWh $16.80

Total = $58.80

Time of Use Rate (TOU)

TOU Rate: Charges change based on the time of day, day of the week, and what season you are in and typically have 3 different charge types: On-Peak, Mid-Peak, and Off-Peak. You can also have Super On-Peak, or Super-Off-Peak.

The peaks indicate the different levels of charges, which are also directly related to when the utility company experiences peaks in electricity demand.

The hours of these periods can vary depending on the location and the energy provider, but generally, on-peak hours are during the day and early evening, mid-peak hours are in the late evening and early morning, and off-peak hours are overnight and on weekends.

Below are some visual representations of what a common TOU rate may look like. The two different graphs represent the same TOU rate but in a different way.

Notice the On-Peak period (the most expensive period) is from 4pm to 9pm. This is becoming more common throughout the United States. Although another popular time is between 12pm to 6pm.



Step 3: Know the Difference Between Power & Energy

Power and Energy are two different measurements. They are also two different charges on your utility bill.

Power (Demand)

Power is the rate at which electricity is delivered, measured in Watts (W).

Kilo (k) is a prefix that means 1000.

1 kW = 1000 W

On your utility bill, power may also be referred to as Demand. Since power can only be measured at a single point in time, the utility company is mostly concerned in Peak Demand, or the highest power amount your home demanded from the utility company at one point in time.

💡You can get high demand by turning on all the lights at the same time.

On any type of rate you are on, your bill will be looking at the Demand or Power Peaks. Depending on the type of rate you are on, it may be the peak for the month, or peaks during each TOU period.

Energy (Consumption)

Energy is the amount of power for one hour, or multiple hours, measured in Watt-hours (Wh).

Similarly, 1 kWh = 1000 Wh

kilowatt-hours are a unit that is only used for energy when talking about electricity.

On your utility bill, energy may also be referred to as Consumption. Consumption is measuring the amount of power during the duration of the days and months. It is a summation of the entire billing period. How it is charged will depend on your rate (flat, tiered, or TOU)

💡You can get high energy by leaving the lights on for a long time.

Car Analogy

Another way to think about the difference between power and energy are the gauges in your car.

Power is like the speedometer measuring Miles/Hour at a single point in time.

Energy is like the odometer measuring how many miles you've driven over the span of your trip.

Step 4: Prioritize

In summary, to answer the question, "When is the best time to do laundry?" you must know your electricity rate.

The safest answer will be during the night while everyone is sleeping, but that might not be practical because you need to sleep too. So, you need to figure out when your off-peak times are.

As rates change, utility companies are trying their best to educate their customers as well. Check with your utility company to see how you are being charged and determine when the cheapest time is.

Pro Tip:

While you do your laundry, make sure you don't have any other large appliances running. While it may be a cheaper energy time, you can still get a high-demand charge.

Other Ways to Save Money While Doing Laundry

  • Hang Dry instead of running the dryer

  • Use cold water for the wash

  • Get Energy Efficient (Energy Star) Appliances

  • Make sure your laundry loads are not too small or too big

  • Clean your Dryer's lint trap

Pro Tip #2:

Save time by buying all the same color socks.

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