This household appliance adds £1,053 a year to your energy bill – here’s how to slash cost

Martin Lewis outlines rise in average UK household energy bills

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These savings will add up and could total more than £1,000 for a family of four over a year. By using this appliance more efficiently, you can keep down electricity bills as the winter nightmare looms.

If you have a tumble dryer, it is likely to be the single biggest drain on energy in your home, using on average 4.5 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per cycle.

Last year, when a kWh of energy cost 20.06p, according to the Energy Saving Trust, that cost more than 90p a load.

With the energy price cap set to rocket again when it is announced on Friday, with bills rising from October 1, electricity prices are on course to top 50p per kWh by the end of the year.

That could drive up the cost of using a tumble dryer to £2.25 a load and the total expense will clean people out if they tumble regularly over the year.

A family of four does nine loads of laundry a week, website calculates, which works out as 468 loads over the course of a year.

At £2.25 a load the cost adds up £1,053 a year and Paula Quazi, sustainable cleaning expert and founder of eco-cleaning brand Smol, said we should all aim to cut back. The obvious thing to do is not use it at all. “If you air dry your clothes inside, your family could make a huge annual saving.”

Quazi adds: “Even if you cut back by just a couple of tumble dries a week, that will still save you £260 over a year.”

If you must use your tumble dryer, the most expensive time to do your laundry is between 4pm and 7pm, she added.

“Try to avoid using your machines between these hours, if possible.”

Check whether your appliance has a time delay, allowing you to control when the cycle begins, ideally in the early hours. “Energy prices tend to be lowest between 10pm and 5am,” Quazi added.

Many families waste money by washing clothes when they aren’t noticeably dirty, so give them a quick sniff test before washing, she said.

“Cut down on your washes by spot cleaning small stains and spillages without adding to the main load.”

Quazi said find the most efficient cycle for your machine. “You want the shortest, coolest, lowest water cycle possible. This isn’t always the one called ‘Eco’ so it’s worth digging out the old manual.”

Don’t do things by halves, she said. “Sometimes a mid-week wash might be unavoidable but running multiple half-full loads is a surefire way to run up your energy bill and also waste water and detergent.”

Tumble dryer manufacturer Beko also has tips to make efficient use of your appliance when you do actually use it.

Putting sopping wet items in your tumble dryer will extend drying time, so use your washing machine’s spin cycle to remove excess water.

Keep the lint and evaporator filters clean, as blocked filters make the motor work harder and consume more energy, Beko says.

Dry similar fabrics together. They will take roughly the same amount of time to dry, which means all your garments will be dry at the same time. If you mix fabrics, you could be running the machine simply to get one or two garments dry when the rest are already done.

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Don’t overload or underload the drum. Overloading makes it harder to dry the clothing and could damage the machine, but underloading will use a full programme’s worth of energy just to dry a few items.

Timed programmes could waste money by continuing long after the washing is dry. If your machine has a “sensor drying” option, your appliance will automatically stop when clothes are dry, so use it.

Don’t add clothes mid-cycle, because the other clothes will suck up their moisture so you have to dry them all over again.

Drying multiple loads one after the other can save money, because you benefit from the heat that is already in the machine.

Anti-crease functions may occasionally rotate your clothes to stop them from getting all wrinkly after the washing is dry. However, this uses energy so it makes more sense to take your washing out as soon as it’s done.

With energy costs so high, even minor changes could generate big savings.

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