How Much Money Can You Save by Running Your Dishwasher at Night?

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Contrary to popular thinking, washing dishes by hand is much less efficient than using your dishwasher. As Better Homes & Gardens noted, a recent study by Cascade found that Energy Star-certified dishwashers use less than four gallons of water per cycle. Washing one dish by hand for 15 seconds uses a half-gallon.

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So, even a light dishwasher load containing as few as eight dishes can save you money and thousands of gallons of water each year. However, if you know your energy company’s peak hours and rates, you stand to save even more by running your dishwasher at the most opportune time of the day — which is at night.

Peak electricity hours occur when the energy grid is experiencing high demand, at a specific time of the day when electrical consumption is at its highest and rates at their most expensive. Peak hours vary depending on where you live and the time of year, and the price you pay during these premium times will depend on the energy plan you have with your utility company.

For example, rates during peak hours in the summer, when many more households are using air conditioners, will be substantially higher than rates during off-peak, less active times of the day such as overnight, when fewer businesses are operating and fewer lights and appliances are being used.

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To illustrate the difference between peak and off-peak pricing, we can use an example by Real Simple’s associate editorial director Katie Holdefehr, who wrote, “For a Brooklyn apartment with energy supplied by New York City’s provider, Con Edison, a quick search revealed just how dramatically prices can vary: From June 1 to September 30, peak rates from 8 a.m. to midnight cost 23.07 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), while midnight to 8 a.m. costs just 1.63 cents/kWh.”

In this example, energy used during off-peak hours costs 14.15 times less than during an energy company’s peak times. Of course, this is in pricey Brooklyn. However, recognizing the cost incentives available during less demanding times and strategically changing your dishwasher use to night instead of day can help save on electricity and water over time, no matter where you live.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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