Why You Should Always Run Your Dishwasher at Night

Hint: It could save you money.

When do you typically run your dishwasher? First thing in the morning before you head to work, or after dinner when all of the dirty plates pile up? You probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, but a simple decision like when to run your dishwasher can have a big effect on your energy bill over time. Here's why: Most energy companies charge higher rates for energy during peak hours. To lower your bill, check your energy company's peak hours and wait to run your dishwasher (and washing machine and dryer) at another time.

Determine Your Energy Company's Peak Hours

Peak hours and rates will vary depending upon your energy company and area, so check the company's website for more info. For a Brooklyn apartment with energy supplied by New York City's provider, ConEdison, 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. Yes, that means energy used during peak hours costs 14 times more than off-peak.

And since more people use energy-guzzling air conditioners during the summer, ConEdison also has "Summer-Peak Pricing," which runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays when rates are even higher. So even if you don't want to wait until midnight to run a dishwasher, avoiding these prime afternoon hours could save a lot of money over the course of a couple of months.

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So, When Is the Best Time to Run Your Dishwasher?

While peak hours will vary slightly by area, as a general rule, the cheapest time to run your dishwasher is at night—when people begin to turn off lights and TVs and the grid is less busy.

Note: For fire safety reasons, you should only run appliances like dishwashers and dryers while you're home and avoid running them overnight or when you're sleeping.

Even if you don't want to rework your cleaning schedule, by simply avoiding using large appliances during peak afternoon hours (especially during the summer months), you can keep your utility bill in check.

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