HOUSEHOLDS are facing sky-high energy bills but simple changes such as when you use your washing machine can help you save money.
Waiting just a couple of hours to wash your clothes could help you cut your bills, but only if you're on a time-sensitive energy tariff.
Saving as much cash as possible on your household bills is a big concern for millions of Brits.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month announced a package of measures to help struggling households through a crippling cost of living crisis.
Every household in the country will get £400 towards their energy bill, and millions more will get an extra £650 to cover essentials.
It comes as the latest predictions suggest energy bills will rise to more than £2,800 in October.
But reducing the amount of energy you use around the house will help to bring your bills down.
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You could pay less if you switch to an Economy 7 tariff, which charges less for energy used at night.
If you do switch, keep an eye on your usage -you could up spending more if you use a lot of energy in the day time.
Bear in mind that leaving electrical appliances on at night can be a fire hazard, so make sure you're awake while the machine is running.
We explain when is best to wash your clothes and other tips to help you save money on your energy bills.
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How much does it cost to run a washing machine?
Ovo estimates that a 6-litre washing machine uses around 1kWh of energy for an hour-long cycle.
The typical household is paying 28p per kWh for electricity, according to Ofgem.
That means it costs about 28p for an hour long cycle when you put on your washing machine.
If you did this three times a week, it would cost you £43.68 a year.
When should I put my laundry on?
You could save money depending what tariff you're on and if your energy supplier charges more or less for your electricity at different times of the day.
Some energy providers charge more during busy periods.
The most expensive time to wash your clothes is between 4pm and 7pm.
You could save cash if you're on an Economy 7 or off-peak tariff by putting your load on during less busy times of the day.
The price will vary depending on your supplier and where you live, but previously firms have charged as little as 9.76p for an off-peak rate.
Doing three hour-long cycles at that rate would cost just £15.22 a year.
But off-peak times and rates differ between suppliers, so you'll need to check your own terms.
You'll usually get your seven hours of cheaper energy some time between 11pm and 8am though.
That means these customers could shave money off their bill just by washing at night.
However, be warned – leaving household appliances on at night while you're asleep could be a fire risk, so make sure you're awake.
How else can I save money on my energy bills?
If you're struggling with your energy bills, there is help available.
Your first step should be to contact your energy supplier.
It may be able to change your payment plan or check if you're eligible for their hardship fund.
For example, British Gas and Octopus have both set up funds to help customers who are struggling with their bills.
British Gas announced last week that it has added an extra £2million to the pot of cash set aside to help customers.
You should also check that you're getting all the benefits you're entitled to.
Use an online benefits calculator to make sure you're not missing out on any extra cash.
Similarly, you can search for grants that can help you pay for gas and electricity bills.
The government recently announced an extension to the Household Support Fund to help families with the rising cost of living.
Contact your local council to find out what support is available in your area.
Finally, one of the best ways of saving money is to make your home more energy efficient.
Check whether you can reduce your energy use with a simple trick such as putting foil behind your radiator.
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