Choosing The Best Dishwashers

A dishwasher with a good range of programs, including economy options, will allow you match the dishwasher’s performance to your needs and help you save energy and water. Most of the energy used by a dishwasher is for water heating. The Energy Guide label estimates how much power is needed per year to run the appliance and to heat the water based on the yearly cost of gas and electric water heating. When it is time to buy a new unit, look for the ENERGY STAR label.

Appliances account for about 20% of your household’s energy consumption, with refrigerators and clothes dryers at the top of the consumption list. Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer’s recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater to a lower temperature.

Scrape, don’t rinse, off large food pieces and bones. Soaking or re washing is generally only recommended in cases of burned-on or dried-on food. Be sure your dishwasher is full, but not overloaded.

Don’t use the “rinse hold” on your dishwasher for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3 to 7 gallons of hot water each time you use it. Let your dishes air dry; if you don’t have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open a little so the dishes will dry faster.


Water connection mode is important for a dishwasher:

– Cold water connection will use the least energy – the dishwasher heats its own water only for the parts of the cycle where hot water is needed, but the energy (in the form of electricity) generally costs more (unless you are on a time of use tariff, which is still unusual for households, and run the machine overnight).
– If you have a gas or solar hot water system, models that can be connected to both hot and cold water will save carbon dioxide and operating costs, but models with dual connection are now rare. You will also save energy costs if you have an off peak electric hot water system.
– A dishwasher connected only to hot water will use the most energy, although it may be marginally more economical if you have off peak electric, solar or mains gas hot water.


Remember that dishwashers use less water than washing dishes by hand, about 6 gallons less per load; they also use hotter water than you would use if you were washing the dishes by hand, so they can do a better job of killing germs.

Just remember that buying an ENERGY STAR dishwasher is not the end of your quest for energy efficient dish washing; it’s only the beginning. Energy efficient dishwashers can waste a great deal of energy if used improperly. Don’t use the Steri-Clean feature (heats water to 160F instead of 140F) unless sanitation is a real requirement. Don’t use heated dry, rinse and hold, or a heavier cycle than you need.

Tags: dishwasher, get organized, kitchen

One Response to Choosing The Best Dishwashers

  1. Avatar for Dennis Sanchez Dennis Sanchez says:

    I love what you said about choosing a dishwasher that is energy efficient, as it could really help you save you on your energy bill. My mother found herself in need of a new dishwasher, and I decided to help out and do a bit of research. I’ll definitely make sure she picks out an efficient machine, and one that we can find a store to replace parts if anything goes wrong with it. Only thing left to do after that, is find that parts store we can rely on.

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