Saving Energy with Dishwashers 

The greatest energy savings that can be obtained with a dishwasher will be from measures applied to improve the hot water efficiency. Dishwashers use from eight to fourteen gallons of water for a wash cycle, depending on which setting is selected, from light rinse to pot-scrubber mode.

Saving Energy Using Dishwasher Settings

Use the dishwasher’s lightest wash setting that will do the job. Heavy duty settings and pot-scrubber settings use more water, therefore more energy costs. To assist in using the lightest setting, scrub dishes prior to putting them in the dishwasher, using only cold water. Using hot water defeats the energy savings.

Some models of dishwashers have a setting to by-pass the heat/dry cycle, or a no-heat dry cycle which saves energy. Allow the dishes to dry themselves rather than using the heat/dry cycle. If the current appliance does not have this option, open the door and allow the dishes to dry rather than the electric heating element to come on. Allowing dishes to air-dry will save the most energy with dishwashers.

Wash Full Loads

Full dishwasher

Washing partial loads is wasteful. Unlike settings on washing machines, the dishwasher cannot be adjusted for partial loads. Always wash a full load.

Booster Heater Dishwasher Models

An efficient dishwasher model will do the most toward saving energy with dishwashers. Booster heaters that raise the wash water temperature up to 140 degrees F or 145 degrees F allows for turning the water heater temperature down to reduce heating costs. Some dishwasher models require water temperatures to have a higher setting to break down powder detergents. Try using liquid detergents with a lower temperature setting.

Replacing Older Models

Sometimes it may be cost effective to replace an older model dishwasher. As new models are not costly, the savings may be recouped in a short period of time with newer, energy efficient appliances. Look for the EnergyGuide label to know how much electricity in kilowatt-hours the new dishwasher will use in one year. Compare models and read the manufacturer labels to ensure the model will have the number of cycles and normal settings that benefit the household. Look for the EnergyStar label that indicates the model exceeds federal standards by at least 13 percent.

Look for energy efficient features that will reduce hot water use. Settings like booster heaters and smart controls will help reduce water use. Checking the number of gallons of water the model will use will alert the consumer to the most energy efficient model.

Dishwashers themselves do not use much energy and they are one of the greatest kitchen conveniences ever invented. More than 80 percent of the energy used by a dishwasher comes from heating the water needed to clean the dishes.

Saving energy with a dishwasher depends on controlling the amount of water used and the water temperature. Applying these suggestions will assist in lower energy consumption for the homeowner, saving money and ultimately Mother Earth.