For over a century, dishwashers have been used in homes across the nation, as an alternative to washes dishing and cookware by hand. With so much history you would think the age-old debate over which method is more efficient and sanitary would be laid to rest, but there are still those who have a strong belief that hand washing is better for your health and the planet. If you've ever asked yourself the question, "Do dishwashers save water?" you're not alone, and Mr. Appliance® has the answer. Read on to learn the best ways to save money while washing your dishes, and how to increase the efficiency of this hardworking appliance.
How Much Water Does a Dishwasher Use?
When determining the overall environmental impact of cleaning your dishes it's important to consider all the contributing factors including the age of the appliance, the volume of water use, and energy consumption. Considering the various options and features that different brands may offer, the average dishwasher uses six gallons of water per load while the average ENERGY STAR® rated dishwasher uses four or less—with energy usage estimated to be between 0.88 kWh and 1.58 kWh for an average wash cycle. As of 2013, standards were put in place to ensure that dishwashers manufactured after that date use no more than five gallons of water per cycle. Many dishwashers have a built-in heater that can raise the temperature of the water more efficiently than your hot water tank for further energy savings.
Washing dishes by hand can use up to 27 gallons of water per load, factoring in the time it takes to run the water to bring it up to the desired temperature and allowing for the water to be running during the rinsing phase. Both of these practices, as well as pre-rinsing dishes before placing them in the dishwasher can add up to a significant waste of resources over the course of the year.
How to Increase the Efficiency of Your Dishwasher
Regardless of the age, make, or model of your dishwasher there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the amount of money you spend on energy and enhance the performance of this time-saving appliance:
- Fill it up. A dishwasher uses the same volume of water and electricity to wash a full load as it does when the appliance is only partially filled. Depending on the size of your household, having the patience to wait until the unit is filled to capacity can cut the number of times you run your dishwasher by 50 percent or more each week.
- Not too full. While it is important to wait until the dishwasher is full before starting a wash cycle, it is equally important to ensure there is enough space between the dishes to allow the water to circulate.
- Make timely repairs. A broken dishwasher is more than an inconvenience, and if not repaired quickly it can lead to extensive water damage. Contact Rainbow International for fast, efficient water damage cleanup and restoration. They are one of our fellow Neighborly brands.
- Air dry your dishes. You can save energy and increase efficiency by skipping the heat dry cycle and opening the door of the dishwasher as soon as the wash cycle has finished to let the dishes dry on their own.
- Keep it clean. The dishwasher filter and spray arm can become clogged with debris and mineral deposits over time. Periodic cleaning is needed to maximize performance and efficiency.