Did you know you can save money on your energy bill just by adjusting your schedule? Many energy companies have what’s called “off-peak hours,” and they’ll charge less for electricity during the time period when demand is lower. With the price of just about everything increasing, it’s helpful to cut down on an expense, any expense.
If your energy company has what’s called a time-of-use tariff, it means they can charge more for electricity use during peak hours. (That also means electricity used during off-peak hours is less expensive.) Energy companies that have a fixed-rate tariff charge the same amount for electricity at all hours of the day.
Not sure which kind of tariffs your energy company uses? It’s time to find out. You could be saving big on your next electricity bill by using more of it at night. Here’s what you should know about off-peak hours, including how to find your specific hours and savings.
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So when are off-peak hours?
During the day when most people are awake and using electricity, demand is higher, so energy companies charge more for it. These are called “peak hours.” At night when the population is generally asleep, demand is lower, so electricity is less expensive at night.
Typically there is a 7-hour or 10-hour time window at night when energy prices are lower. Usually off-peak hours fall between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. local time, but the exact hours depend on your electric company.
Call your energy company to find out if they have off-peak hours.
Not all energy companies have the time-of-use tariff. The easiest way to find out if yours does is to call and ask if they charge differently during the day or night. You might find this information printed on your monthly statement.
If they do operate with a time-of-use tariff, find out what the price difference is. In some cases, it may not be significantly cheaper. When that is the case, decide whether it’s worth the hassle of trying to rearrange your schedule to charge or use all your appliances night. On the flip side, if you can work out a schedule that allows you to charge electronics at night (especially larger things like electric vehicles or generators), you could save a significant amount of money.
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Charge items like an iPad, a cordless vacuum, or an electric tooth brush during off-peak hours.
Once you know when your off-peak hours are and how much you can save, it’s time to strategize. Think of everything that uses electricity in your home. Make a list of things that don’t need to be plugged in or charge at a specific time.
Items like a cordless vacuum, a rechargeable toothbrush, or an iPad can easily charge overnight rather than during the day. Consider changing your schedule a bit so that larger items that use a lot of electricity can charge overnight as well. These items include electric vehicles, large power tools, and generators.
Moreover, keep track of your energy bills before and after switching to nighttime charging. This way you see how much you’re actually saving. Tracking will help determine whether it’s worth moving your schedule around for larger electric items, like your vehicle, or not.
Air conditioners and electric heaters are the most expensive appliances to keep plugged in.
When looking at the total on your monthly energy bill, consider the appliances that are the biggest money suckers. According to stats compiled by MoneyTransfers.com, air conditioners and electric heaters are the biggest culprits. However, they’re also the items you’re mostly likely to need during peak hours on either a hot or cold day.
Tumble dryers and washing machines are also among the biggest energy users, so when possible, try doing laundry during those off-peak electricity hours (if your company has them).
LED light bulbs and hair dryers are the least expensive to use in terms of electricity cost.
Not surprisingly, LED light bulbs and hair dryers (which MoneyTransfers.com lists using at just five minutes a day; clearly they’ve never seen our hair) are listed as the least expensive “appliances” to use electricity. With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to unplug things like hair dryers and hair straighteners when not using. Additionally, you can easily unplug your toaster oven at night while you’re asleep.
This is because even when these items aren’t “on” but plugged in, they’re still consuming electricity, upping your energy bill needlessly.