The Best Time to Use Your Appliances
Run your dishwasher or washing machine between the hours of 7 P.M. and noon and the amount you're charged may be cut by half, says Jennifer Thorne Amann, a coauthor of Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings (New Society Publishers, $18, amazon.com). Here's why: Many utility companies charge higher rates during peak times (typically noon to 7 P.M., with the heaviest usage coming at 2 P.M.), so if you opt for less popular hours, you'll get a discount. Policies vary, so check with your energy provider for availability.
And here's one more bill-cutting tip: If your dishwasher and washing machine are more than 10 years old, run them simultaneously when possible. By maximizing the use of your hot-water heater, you'll save a few more bucks.