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Run your washing machine at night.

Community Veteran
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Run your washing machine at night.

I see the latest crackpot idea to come out from  Lord Adonis' National Infrastructure Commission is to run your washing machine/tumble drier at night to avoid the need to build new power stations. Smart Meters could lead to differential power charges depending on whether it is peak/off peak power usage.  The electricity industry and government have allowed the generating capacity to run down as coal fired stations are closed (thank you EU), to such an extent we don't have enough capacity on a calm winters day.
Last year we cancelled our off-peak electricity account because our supplier was price gouging on the peak/off-peak Unit charges. When they realised we'd caught them out they just billed us on total usage and we saved loads of money.
The point I make is the Establishment should be required  to build sufficient resilient capacity to cover the winter peaks and increased usage of plug in electric cars. Efficiency schemes and Smart Meters provide no protection from price gouging or the winter demands of Mother Nature.
I wonder who will pay for increased house insurance premiums arising from the practice of running your tumble drier overnight?  Perhaps the insurance companies will demand data on night time from your Smart Meter.
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

Always run our washing machine at night, we're on economy 7 so this isn't a new idea..
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

As a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with a lifetime spent in the Power Industry I agree that our inheritance of a well structured power generation and distribution system has been squandered in favour of an Ill thought out dogma of low carbon and renewables.
But I saw other reports on the study and there are some interesting concepts which could work. In particular the "internet of things" could turn off fridges and freezers which don't require a continuous supplies when there is a local demand at meal times or such. Running washing machines at night or charging electric cars overnight seems sensible to me to reduce local overloads and allow a reduction in distribution capacity. But the close control of consumption and distribution remains to be developed.  Roll eyes
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Community Veteran
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

With some machines bursting into flames I'm sure I read some report somewhere that from a safety viewpoint washing machine/tumble driers shouldn't be left to run unattended.
So why would some bogus commission recommend otherwise?
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

Quote from: dvorak
Always run our washing machine at night, we're on economy 7 so this isn't a new idea..

Yep, a lot of E7 users run their high-current appliances at night on the cheap rate, simply because it's cheaper to do so... Smiley
The basic idea that Lord Adonis waffling about is about grid-balancing, as the grid at the moment has very distinct peaks and troughs, the peak demand being the problem, reducing this peak by running high-current appliances at night would help to reduce the peaks and reduce the load on the grid during the day...
The other option is they switch off the power at peak times and prioritise it to necessary services... Grin
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

Washing machines are considered safe to run unattended these days (they are no different to immersion heaters really). Many have timers on them to enable night-time usage. Tumble driers are a different kettle of fish though because they can overheat if the air filters become blocked. They don't usually have timers fitted as standard.
I believe that New Zealand has been using demand switching for some time now to load balance by switching off water heating and other major load absorbers in return for an incentive on the bill. It's much cheaper to do this than build new plant.
rongtw
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ ;

You can keep a watch here too see our usages  Wink
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

Handy web page - added it to my bookmarks.  Smiley
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nanotm
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

I wonder if the commission has taken into account the problem of electric fans/air con units in the summer and dehumidifiers in the winter, or electric cookers or any number of other high demand highly necessary electrical items, oh and the freezer requires twice the power when the temperature goes up so far from being ok to switch off during mealtimes it would be doubly necessary to have it running, unless of course he thinks everyone keeps theirs in a separate room to the cooker ....
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alanf
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

Quote from: nozzer
Washing machines are considered safe to run unattended these days...

"Don't leave the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher running overnight (they are a fire risk because of their high wattage motors)."
Fire Safety In Your Home published by Kent Fire & Rescue Service.
I guess that to safely take advantage of off-peak electricity one will have to go to bed late or get up early.
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

If the machine is properly protected by the correct fuse/fuse-switch and an earth fault circuit breaker it's not a problem at all. I actually read recently that our local fire service is advising that timers (of the plugin type for switching lights etc) are unsafe "because they contain capacitors". Seems a little OTT to me!
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

Quote from: alanf
(they are a fire risk because of their high wattage motors).


They need re-educating, the motors used in washing machines are only a few hundred watts, less in a dryer, it's the heaters that are the high wattage parts that generate heat, in a washer the heater is usually submerged in water, so the only way for one to catch fire is if there were major faults with the machine, and the dryer, again, it'd require major faults and neglect to cause any fire to occur, so I call bovine excrement on their recommendations... Roll eyes
The only issues I've had with the washer or dryer running unattended is the previous washer shed it's lower weight so shook itself to bits and died, and the dryer, well, the hose occasionally falls back inside the house rather than stay hanging out the window, no fires to date, the house has a couple of smoke alarms too so if there were any issues, they'd go off... Smiley
And on that note, any intelligent householder will have a smoke alarm on hand anyway, those who don't are the victims of evolution... Smiley
Quote from: nozzer
our local fire service is advising that timers (of the plugin type for switching lights etc) are unsafe "because they contain capacitors".

You're joking? Please tell me that you are joking! The capacitors used inside of the timers are for spark-quenching purposes, they're put in there to prevent arcing which CAUSES fire!!! I think the fire service needs to stick to fighting fires, not telling us what's good and bad, especially as 99% of anything electrical in the home contains capacitors.....................
itsme
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

Received a letter last week from the manufacturer of my tumble drier which is 5 years old warning of a potential fire risk and to contact them to arrange a visit to fix the problem.
Capacitors to reduce arcing are not to stop fires but to reduce damage to the contacts
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

Quote from: itsme
Capacitors to reduce arcing are not to stop fires but to reduce damage to the contacts

Have a slap with a wet fish...
Sparking contacts create carbon deposits on the inside of devices, these deposits can become a path for electricity to travel, and if there's enough, the resistance of the carbon creates heat (after all, resistance is futile), the heat generated tends to ignite materials that burn, and the easiest way of reducing the chances of the sparks with the use of capacitors means that fire is prevented...
It's also why it's a damned good idea to replace a fuse box with MCBs as fuses that pop (especially bare wire fuses) leave carbon traces, and have been known to cause electrical fires... Smiley
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Re: Run your washing machine at night.

If I set my washing machine to run in the early hours it would most likely wake me up on the first of it's spin cycles.
I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep until it had finished.
I'm a fairly light sleeper....it's not that the machine is particularly noisy.
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