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Dishwasher Purchase Tips

High efficiency dishwashers save by using both improved technology for the primary wash cycle, and by using less hot water to clean. Construction includes more effective washing action, energy efficient motors and other advanced technology such as sensors that determine the length of the wash cycle and the temperature of the water necessary to clean the dishes.

Save on hot water

Significant savings can be realized by minimizing the amount of hot water needed. The water temperature in a dishwasher should be at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit to clean your dishes.

The ENERGY STAR qualified models with internal water heaters boost the water temperature inside the dishwasher. This allows you to turn down the thermostat on your household water heater to 120 degrees, reducing your water heating costs by 20%.

Save on drying

Using your dishwasher’s heater to dry dishes consumes a significant amount of energy. Federal law requires that all new dishwashers have a no-heat drying option. This is often called the “energy saver” feature. This takes a little longer, but dries the dishes as well as the energy-guzzling heat drying operation.

Tips for Buying a New Dishwasher

  • There are two dishwasher classifications: compact capacity and standard capacity. Compact models use less energy, but they hold fewer dishes. A compact model may actually result in greater energy use if you have to operate it more frequently. Assess your specific needs when selecting a dishwasher. If you have a large family for example, a compact model may not make sense.
  • Choose a dishwasher that provides several different wash cycle selections. If your dishes are only slightly soiled, you can use a “light wash” or “energy-saving” wash cycle and save energy by using less water and operating for a shorter period of time.
  • Look for a dishwasher that allows you to choose between heat-drying and air-drying. Heat-drying elements draw considerable electricity; circulation fans for air-drying use very little.
  • Keep in mind that EnergyGuide ratings for dishwasher are based on washing 322 loads annually using the normal settings. If you are considering a model with other setting options that you would use most of the time, your energy use could vary substantially.

Resources for selecting a dishwasher

ENERGY STAR was introduced by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products, in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

ENERGY STAR labeled dishwashers use superior designs that require less water to get dishes clean. For information on ENERGY STAR qualifying products and where to buy them visit this ENERGY STAR web site.

For information on the efficiency rating of various dishwashers please visit the Consortium of Energy Efficiency’s web site. This site compares the energy and water efficiency of various dishwashers and provides efficiency ratings for each machine.

Dishwasher Incentives or Rebates

Some water providers, cities, and utility companies may offer financial incentives for replacing an old dishwasher with a high-efficiency model. Such incentive programs are fairly uncommon so check with your water and electric utility for information on programs in your area.

Michael Joseph