Cheaper Electric at Night
Economy 7 is a special tariff offered by many British energy providers that lets you take an advantage of a cheaper electricity rate during certain hours. For seven hours per day, usually throughout the night, you are assessed a less expensive energy rate than you are charged during the rest of the day. For example, you may get a price break for energy used between 1am and 8am; sometimes the reduced rate time frame will change throughout the year. These tariffs usually require a different meter than is used for standard tariffs because you need to have two separate lines of dials or numbers on the meter. Here are some ways to maximize the benefits afforded by the Economy 7 tariff in the UK.
Heat Water at Night
Hot water usage consumes most of the energy in your home between washing dishes, clothes, and yourself. Allow your hot water heater to run only during the low rate hours to save yourself the most money. You can then use the hot water stored to the reserve tank throughout the day. If heating your water overnight doesn’t give you enough hot water to last the entire day, at least conduct the majority of your water heating during the reduced rate time frame. You might also consider purchasing a water heater that has an on demand feature, which you can turn on during the daytime hours and only heat water as needed.
Rethink Water Usage
Change the schedule on which you use your water. If you typically take showers in the evening, start taking them before 8am so that your hot water costs you less money. Likewise, run your dishwasher and clothes washer and dryer at night by setting the timer instead of throughout the day. By changing your schedule around you can take the best advantage of this special tariff. Even if the water you run isn’t hot, such as running a load of laundry on a warm or cold water cycle, it still benefits you to do the chore inside of the low rate hours. Keep in mind that taking a shower uses much less water than a bath requires, so baths should be limited as opposed to your daily ritual.
To ensure that you don’t accidentally run appliances too much during the higher rate time frame, install a timing device on small appliances like a coffee maker or even a dishwasher when possible. Adding a timer to your appliance will help you maintain a schedule that is the most advantageous to your energy tariff. Likewise, if you frequently fall asleep without turning off some of your lights, set them to a timer so they will automatically switch off at a certain hour. This helps you avoid leaving lights on all night and leading into the morning when the energy rate goes up.
Use Efficient Lighting
To make the most out of your Economy 7 tariff, you should also take general energy efficiency measures. Energy efficient light bulbs, such as CFL bulbs, use less energy than a standard bulb. While they cost more up front, an energy efficient bulb will save you money over time. In fact, a CFL bulb can last for years as long as you don’t turn it on and off too frequently which tends to shorten their life span. Make the most of natural light during the day, when you are charged a higher energy rate. Any time you can install light colored curtains or a skylight and introduce more sunlight into the room, you will be able to turn off some artificial lights. Don’t leave your lamps on while you’re away; if you must leave some lights on to detour a break-in, set them to a timer for a few hours at night.
An Economy 7 tariff plan presents the opportunity to save you a considerable amount of money on your energy bill. However, if you overuse energy during the daytime you can quickly wipe out any savings that you’ve earned during the night hours. Be diligent about your energy use around the clock to take the most advantage of your reduced tariff, and send in meter readings to your energy provider so you get a more accurate bill.
Use Timers for Energy Savings
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