Dishwashers can be not just labour saving appliances but money and energy savers too. If you use your machine to maximum efficiency you can use less water and energy than by hand-washing your dirty plates. But the key does lie in that phrase....using the machine to maximum efficiency. Here're a few tips to help you make sure you're doing just that.
1. Don't rinse, do scrape
Are you still washing your dishes before you pop them in the dishwasher? Stop it at once! It is important to scrape all food residue off the plates because you really don't want it caught in the trap making everything nasty and smelly, but there's no need to rinse first.
2. Buy the right sized appliance for your needs
Dishwashers come in all sizes now and if you live alone you don't need a family sized machine that you only use once a week.
3. Fill the dishwasher to capacity
A given machine will use the same amount of water and energy whether it's full or half loaded, so try to use it at full capacity. If this means buying a few extra plates so you have enough to use until you next run the machine, do that. But if you've bought the right sized machine you'll most likely find that things balance out nicely.
4. Don't overload
Full is efficient, overloaded isn't. You'll just end up with plates coming out dirty and have to wash them again.
5. Load properly
Putting the right things in the right places in the machine will make a vast difference to the cleaning result.
6. If you have solar water heating connect your dishwasher to the hot pipe
You can't really do this with a washing machine because washing clothes on too hot a cycle is a good way to destroy them. Most dishes that are dishwasher safe will stand hot water.
7. Let dishes air dry
Most dishwashers come with a hot air setting at the end of the cycle to dry your dishes. This actually uses a surprisingly large amount of energy. Either turn this setting off if it's optional or stop the machine at the end of the wash cycle. Open the door and let the gravity and natural air flow take care of the drying.
8. See if you can turn the water temperature down
Most dishwashers tend to run at around 60° Celsius , you could find that dropping this back to 50° C still produces clean dishes, but with a significantly lower water heating bill.
9. Run the machine 'off peak'
If you pay less for nighttime electricity, set your machine to run overnight. This won't reduce the amount of energy you use, but it will reduce the amount you have to pay for using it.
10. Maintain your machine properly
Clean out traps regularly, and complete any other home maintenance that's mentioned in your manual on schedule. If you need dishwasher repairs
, get them done promptly. Well maintained machines always work more efficiently and deliver better results.
11. Consider upgrading
While regular maintenance will extend the life of any appliance, and that's a good thing, it's also true that dishwashers have become much more energy and water efficient in recent years. If your dishwasher is more than 7 or 8 years old it could be that changing it will save you the cost of the replacement model in far less time than you might expect.