Dishwasher Energy Saving Tips
If your family is anything like mine, you probably do the dishes at least twice a day. It seems as though the dishes are never done; or, at least, they never stay done. When you consider how frequently you’re washing the dishes, you may wonder, “How much water am I wasting?”
To be as efficient as a dishwasher, you’d need to wash an entire load of dishes in 2-3 minutes!! According to a study conducted by the University of Bonn in Germany, a dishwasher uses about half of the energy, one-sixth of the water, and less soap then hand washing. The average dishwasher uses about 4-6 gallons of water for an entire wash cycle, while hand washing uses about 2 gallons of water every minute.
There are, however, some things to consider before you assume that using your dishwasher is better than hand washing. To ensure that you’re getting the maximum efficiency from your dishwasher, consider the following “energy saving” rules of thumb:
Avoid the “Rinse & Hold” Cycle. The Rinse & Hold cycle is designed to pre-rinse the dishes you’re not quite ready to wash yet. For instance, imagine that you have a small lunch, you don’t want the dishes to sit in your sink, so you place them in the dishwasher and run the Rinse & Hold cycle. This keeps them “fresh” until you’re ready to fully load the dishwasher. What a complete waste of water—either load them and wait, or simply leave them in your sink.
Use the Shortest Wash Cycle Possible. Unless your dishes are extremely dirty, choose to run the light wash cycle. In most cases, the light cycle will clean just as well, and it will use less water.
Choose the Air Dry Setting. The air dry setting will reduce energy use by around 15% (depending on your unit). If you don’t have an air dry setting, simply crack the door and allow the dishes to air dry.
Avoid Rinsing. To some, this may seem like a tall order, but with the newer model dishwashers, there is no need to rinse your dishes. Obviously, you’ll want to scrape any large food pieces into the trash, but extra scrubbing is completely unnecessary. If you’re rinsing, you’re using excess water and energy.
If You Must Rinse, Rinse with Cold Water. Use your sink stopper and fill the sink about ¼ full with cold water. Use a sponge to scrub way any excess food. Avoid running the faucet as much as possible.