If you use the economy 7 tariff you may want to set your washing machine, dishwasher or tumble dryer to come on during the night. This is very unwise, and potentially dangerous!
Can I save money using appliances on economy 7 during the night?
Technically yes, but these tariffs are aimed at people with storage heating. The idea is that energy is used at a cheaper rate during the night and the storage heaters release the energy in heat during the day. From research I’ve carried out, you need to use at least 40% of all your electricity during the 7 hour off-peak time to make it worth while being on the tariff.
So if you do not use storage heating there’s not much point being on any energy scheme designed to give cheaper electricity during the night (or off peak). These schemes can easily work out more expensive than a normal tariff. This is because the electricity is only cheaper during the specified 7 hours through the night. During the rest of the day and evening it’s usually more expensive. I’ve seen cases of it being almost double normal rates.
What if you do use storage heating and are on Economy 7?
If you are already on an Economy 7 (or similar) tariff you may think it makes sense to use your washing machine, dishwasher or tumble dryer during the night. Especially if you realise the electricity charges during “normal” hours are more expensive. But please don’t. Firstly you may not be able to unless your appliance has a built in delay start. But if you can it’s just not worth the risk in order to save relatively small amounts of money.
Is it safe letting my washing machine, dishwasher or tumble dryer run at night on Economy 7?
Make no mistake about it, our white goods appliances can catch fire. My last research into appliance fires found over half of all house fires are caused by white goods appliances.
Personally I don’t care if I saved hundreds of pounds a year. I would not leave my potentially dangerous appliances running whilst we were all asleep in bed.
I certainly wouldn’t be interested in saving up to just 10 – 30 pence washing and tumble drying during the night when it means that if something went wrong it could be much more serious than if using the appliance during the day when people are about. (See safety notices about dangerous faults on appliances)