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Your House  >  Kitchen  >  Dishwasher Tuesday, September 30, 2014
 
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Today’s dishwashers are far more energy efficient than earlier models, using up to 95% less energy than those made in the 1970s. Dishwashers have an average lifespan of 11 years, meaning dishwashers pre-dating the mid-90s are likely in need of replacement, regardless of their energy qualifications. By simply replacing a dishwasher manufactured prior to 1994, you could save up to $30 a year.

The majority of energy consumed by a dishwasher is used for heating the water. Up to 80% of the total energy is used to get the water near the 140°F mark in order to melt the dishwasher soap and clean the grease and grime from dirty dishes.

Homeowners may be leery at the cost of replacing an existing dishwasher. If this sounds like you, consider that in addition to your savings in operating costs and energy, a new dishwasher can provide a richer feature-set over older models. The majority of newer models include energy-saving features such as short, light or economy cycles, which use one detergent wash and 2 or 3 rinse cycles. These models will also give the option of using heat or no-heat drying cycles. For optimal energy savings, use the no-heat cycle.

More advanced dishwasher models go as far as providing sensors that measure the amount of dirt on your dishes and adjust the amount of water used accordingly. This reduces both the amount of energy and water required to clean dishes.

The most energy efficient dishwashers on the market are ENERGY STAR qualified. These models are at least 41% more energy efficient that the regulated standard models, with a minimum Energy Factor of 0.65.

There are three types of dishwashers available to consumers – built-in, portable and compact.

Built-in dishwashers are those permanently connected to a home’s water and electrical supplies.

Until recently, only standard-sized dishwashers qualified for ENERGY STAR approval, but new criteria have been developed to allow compact dishwashers to wear the ENERGY STAR badge. These models are those with capacities less than 8 place settings and 6 serving pieces. In order to achieve ENERGY STAR status, compact dishwashers must have an Energy Rating of 0.88 or higher.

Portable dishwashers are those not permanently attached to a home’s water and electrical supplies. They are lightweight and freestanding and can include counter-top and caster-mounted dishwasher, all of which can be moved from place to place fairly easily.

Find out how energy efficient your dishwasher is by viewing our product listings of dishwashers, or using the ENERGY STAR calculator below.

 
  
 

 
 Dishwasher Tips
 
Only run dishwasher when full
Energy EcoFriendly Water
Regardless of whether you run the dishwasher full, half full or empty, it uses the same amount of energy. So if you run the dishwasher when it is only half full, you use twice the amount of energy necessary.
Use the "Short" or Econo" Cycle
Energy
Most newer dishwashers have a short or econo wash cycle. These types of cycles save energy by turning off the heating element for the drying cycle. As an alternative to heat drying, you can simply open the dishwasher door and allow the dishes to air dry.
Avoid pre-rinsing your dishes
Energy
While pre-rinsing your dishes improves the cleanliness of dishes, it also uses increased amount of energy and water. As an alternative, scrape your plates clean after eating, then place them into the dishwasher.
Use an automatic dishwasher over hand washing your dishes
Water
Research shows that using an automatic dishwasher instead over washing by hand uses 37% less water. If you must wash by hand, fill the wash and rinse basins instead of running the water constantly. This could use half the water of a dishwasher.
Clean your dishwasher's filter regularly
Energy Water
Be sure to clean your dishwasher's filter regularly. A dirty filter can lead to inefficient operation of your dishwasher, wasting water and energy, not to mention leaving your dishes dirty.
Avoid extra rinse cycles when possible
Energy Water
Many dishwashers have a "rinse hold" or similarly titled settings. These settings provide more rinsing than the typical cycle, using up to 7 gallons of water, as well as additional energy to heat the water.
Choose to air dry your dishes
Energy
Many new models of dishwashers allow you the option of air drying your dishes. Selecting this option over heat-drying can reduce your dishwasher's energy use by 15-50%. If your dishwasher does not have an air-dry setting, shut off the dishwasher and open the door to allow it to air dry.
Select a dishwasher with a heat booster
Energy
If you are in the market for a new dishwasher, select one with a heat booster. A heat booster will raise the incoming water tempterature to 140°F, meaning you can reduce your water heater temperature to 120°F, which will save on energy and money.
Place your dishwasher away from your fridge
Energy
When installing a dishwasher, keep it away from your refigerator if possible. The heat and moisture from the dishwasher will increase the refrigerators energy consumption.
Look for the ENERGY STAR Label
Energy
When buying new, look for ENERGY STAR products to ensure optimal energy savings.
 
  
 
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