Dishwashers sometimes come in for some bad press, particularly because it is assumed they waste energy and water. However this is rarely the case - usually dishwashers use less water and less energy than washing your plates by hand. So it is quite possible to be environmentally friendly and enjoy the convenience of a dishwasher. If you want to get better and cheaper performance from your dishwasher, here are some hints.
Some people mistakenly think that a dishwasher uses more water because it's big and a sink is little. Although, if you think about how people tend to wait to do their dishes once a day and then continually fill and refill the sink with fresh hot water, these tiny sinks end up using lots of water by the time all is said and done. It's the dish-washing technique that weighs heavily into this energy saving equation. Since the dishwasher typically uses roughly 20 liters (about 5 gallons) of water per run, the dishwasher makes good use of its water consumption in comparison to how many people handwashes their dishes.
It stands to reason that you should do all you can to minimize the amount of water you use with your dishwasher. Rather than sticking all your plates and pans under fast flowing water to get the crud off, you should just scrape it directly into the trash.
If you need to use water, then half fill your sink rather than using running water. It is also usually possible to stop using the pre-rinse cycle on your machine - experiment with this and you could save a good amount of water.
You will also get best value from your dishwasher if you can run the cycle only when the dishwasher is full. Clearly you need plenty of spare crockery for this, but don't go out and buy more because the cost will way outweigh any water saving!
Heating water zaps energy efficiency. Still, both ways of washing dishes require hot water. So, energy used to heat water is pretty much the same for hand washing and for using a dishwasher. Ironically, many people tend touse more hot water in their hand washing method than the amount used by a dishwasher. It's important to check the scale build up in your dishwasher to keep the dishwasher running effectively. When water must heat up too quickly, scaling tends to happen.
Many people believe the hotter the water means the cleaner and less germs on the plates. However, home water heaters can't be set hot enough to rid germs. Detergents carry out this duty. Thus, skip the high temperature settings and allow your dishes to air dry naturally. By opening the dishwasher door during the drying cycle, you can save a few bucks and keep your washer operating better.
If you do upgrade your dishwasher, look for washers that carry the best energy saving rating. These newer models heat water in safer and more efficient manners in comparison to older units. Also, these newer dishwashers are often far more environmentally friendly and cost effective than many of your neighbor's hand washing habits.
Verna provides F.I.X.Dishwasher Inc. to save you time finding Dishwashers and related info. Verna also provides periodic articles on dishwashers and other kitchen appliances. For further information, see http://www.fixdishwasher.com/articles/
Copyright 2005 Verna Arnott. All rights reserved.
Photo Credit: Vilhelm