Is It Cheaper To Do Laundry At Night?

Energy efficiency is imperative during any time of the year. However, during the scorching Summer months and the frigid Winter season, this becomes a bit more of a priority. In order to save some money, you might be wondering if it is cheaper to do laundry at night. The answer depends on the season. 

During the cool weather months, it is more affordable to make your laundry hour late at night. This lowers the energy output and doesn’t put a strain on your HVAC system. Moreover, electric companies give you a discount for using energy during non-peak hours throughout the year.

Depending on your provider, the savings can be up to 30%. Thus, if you normally spent $15 of your electric bill doing 12 loads of laundry a month (using energy-efficient appliances), you could save $60 a year! However, to truly maximize your savings, it is also important to ensure that you use proper laundry tools and techniques. 

Cheaper Laundry Loads — Is It Ideal To Do Laundry At Night?

A good rule of thumb is to always use your household appliances when the temperatures are just right. That means that in the Summer, you want to use your appliances when it is the coolest time of the day — in the early morning. In contrast, in the Winter, these machines should be running when it is warmest outside —  in the evening.

Why? The washer, and especially the dryer, emit heat, which warms up the house. In the Summer, you are saving your air conditioner from working overtime. It is normally the coolest at night or very early in the morning. During these parts of the day, it won’t take as much for the unit to adjust to the added heat being put off in the house.

Conversely, in the Winter, it takes longer for the pipes to warm up in the morning. Thus, running appliances in the later evening can ensure that you have no issues with your pipes. 

Spring and Fall you don’t have to be quite as stringent due to the more moderate temperatures outside. However, it is still recommended to do laundry at night as these are considered “off-peak hours” with your electricity company. This equates to you being charged a lesser rate on your monthly bill. 

Cheaper To Do Laundry At Night

Peak Versus Non-Peak Hours

Peak times are the periods in the day where the energy consumption for a region is the highest. The greatest demand usually falls somewhere between 7AM and 10PM, with 4PM to 7PM being the pinnacle for afternoon heat. 

These time frames are when the kilowatt-hour rate will be the most expensive. Conversely, off-peak times normally run from after 10PM into the early morning. This is another reason why it is cheaper to do laundry at night! Some areas also have partial-peak times, which are late morning and early afternoon. 

These hours can also be adjusted depending on the current season. Every region is slightly different due to the varying climate patterns. Therefore, it is best to check with your energy provider to determine your specific time frames.

Equating The Cost Of Laundry 

Did you know that doing your laundry can cost you an average of $132 to $208 a year? 

Average Monthly Energy Costs

Let’s break down the math. A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is the measure of electrical energy. An energy efficient washer will use 5 kWh to run a single cycle (1-hour run time). An electric dryer uses anywhere between 2 to 6 kWh for each cycle. This equates to 7 to 11 kWh to wash and dry one load of laundry. 

Thus, if you run 3 loads a week, for 4 weeks (twelve loads a month), this would equal 84 to 132 kWh used for laundry every 28 days. The national average for each kilowatt hour is 13.19 cents. Calculating your monthly cost, this averages between $11.08 to $17.41. 

However, this is a median number. Many electrical companies offer a lower rate per hour if you concentrate your usage during off-peak hours. Conversely, some companies raise the rates during peak heating times to discourage customers from wasting energy.

Important Note These are average numbers. With an older machine, you may have longer cycle times, which means increased costs. Moreover, these calculations are made with the assumption that you do not run a load each day. If you do a daily load, with these averages you would run anywhere between $337 to $530 a year, just to do your laundry! 

Average Monthly Energy Savings

Taking a look at your potential savings, every company offers a different incentive for decreased daytime energy usage. If you meet the right criteria and adjust your utilization to nighttime hours, you can save up to 30% on any energy used in that time frame. Thus, if you do a nightly load of laundry and normally spend $400 a year on the energy of completing this task, you could save $136!

Therefore, talk to your provider and see what the price differential is in your area. It is almost always going to be cheaper to do laundry at night. While this may seem like pennies on the dollar when looking at the hourly cost, if you do the math, the overall price can be quite exorbitant. You could save yourself a couple of hundred bucks a year by just adjusting your wash times.

Energy-Saving Laundry Tips

It is always going to be cheaper to do laundry at night. However, if you are not using the right tools and techniques in the laundry room, you will not be able to optimize your savings. Therefore, make sure to use these laundry hacks to get the most out of each cycle!

How To Save Money While Washing Laundry at Night

As the phrase goes, “Work smarter, not harder”. Thus, don’t overload the washer. This can cause it to become unbalanced and extend your wash times. However, you also don’t want to run this appliance when the load is only halfway full. This will also waste energy.

Next, elect to use the cold cycle when possible. Unless your clothes are heavily stained or soiled, washing at a lower temperature is just as effective at getting your clothes clean. Moreover, opt for shorter wash cycles. If you follow the instructions on the detergent container, there is no need for an extra-long rinse cycle. 

Additionally, turn on the “high spin” setting. This removes excess water, lessening the work the dryer has to accomplish. 

How To Save Money While Drying Laundry at Night

In terms of the dryer, make sure the lint trap is always empty, prior to running a load. Don’t overload this machine either. It will also elongate the time it takes to dry items, running up your costs. To quicken dry times, place a dry, fluffy towel in with the wet clothes. This will absorb any excess moisture. After about fifteen minutes, pull it out and continue with the remainder of the cycle.

Something to note — those refreshing dryer sheets are fantastic for softening our clothes, but they can also leave residue in the lint tray. Over time, this can inhibit airflow. Make a habit of cleaning this apparatus regularly to keep your machine working effectively. 

Lastly, dry items with the moisture sensor on. This tells the machine to shut off sooner if the clothes are dry. If you have the option to hang dry, this is another way to lower your energy costs as well.

Purchase The Right Appliances

Another way to save is to invest in energy-efficient appliances. According to the folks at Energy Star, their certified washers “use about 25% less energy and 33% less water than regular washers”. This can equate to almost $400 in savings! 

Moreover, the company notes that “if all clothes dryers sold in the US were ENERGY STAR certified, Americans could save more than $1.5 billion each year in utility costs.” If you take the time to read the bright yellow sticker titled EnergyGuide, it denotes the possible average yearly savings with each device.

In addition, when purchasing a washer, also consider choosing a front load over a top-load machine. These use less water, which will save you even more money!

Frequently Asked Questions 

How often should I do laundry each week?

The frequency at which a household should do laundry is dependent on the number of people living in the home. However, an average family of four will do up to ten loads of laundry a week. Therefore, since it is cheaper to do laundry at night, we advise planning to do one load each evening.

This helps to spread out the work while maximizing your savings. It also ensures that you are not up all night waiting on the last wash cycle to end on a specific laundry day. Finally, it is important to note that if you don’t have a full load, then it is best to hold off until it gets filled. 

Does running my dryer at night run a fire risk?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, “In 2014-2018, local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 13,820 home structure fires per year in which dryers were involved in the ignition”. While this is a startling statistic, they also note that 32% of the fires were due to a lack of cleaning out the lint trap. Thus, clean your unit after each use!

However, another 27% of the fires were due to malfunctions and 16% were electrical issues. Therefore, it is also important to replace the dryer at least every ten years. Always check the user manual to determine the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

Finally, make sure that your dryer tube has ample flow. If the metal becomes kinked, it can restrict airflow, leading to a potential fire. Sometimes having a professional install your dryer can better guarantee that these types of problems don’t occur.

How do I know if my dryer needs to be replaced?

Watch out for signs that it is starting to have trouble. Dryers should run quietly, with no smells. If your unit randomly shuts off or is not drying effectively, make the investment in a new, safer unit. More recent models tend to have more safety features, like moisture sensors and temperature controls.

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Final Thoughts 

Save your money and help your regional power grid to function smoothly by doing your laundry at night! Moreover, don’t forget to follow the suggested tips for doing laundry in an energy-efficient way. This will not only be cheaper, but it will also help your clothes to last longer!

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