Is an energy-efficient dishwasher worth the money?


Are you in the market for a new dishwasher? If so, you’ve probably considered an energy-efficient one.

Costing an average of $550, according to lifehacker.com, newer dishwashers generally use 5.8 gallons of water per cycle instead of 10 gallons per cycle like some older models, even if you have a working older dishwasher there could be savings you’re missing out on.

RELATED: 5 cheap purchases that cost you more in the long run

Before investing in a new dishwasher, you may want to compare energy savings of different models by reviewing their yellow and black EnergyGuide labels provided by the federal government.

Advanced technology

Dishwasher technology has improved dramatically over the last decade, according to ENERGY STAR, a federal program that certifies consumer products that meet certain energy efficiency standards.

ENERGY STAR-certified dishwashers use advanced technology to get dishes clean while using less water and energy.

  • Soil sensors test the degree of dirt on dishes throughout the wash and adjust the cycle to achieve optimum cleaning with minimal water and energy use.
  • Improved water filtration removes food soils from the wash water, allowing efficient use of detergent and water throughout the cycle. The final clean-water rinse helps clean dishes more thoroughly.
  • More efficient jets use less energy to spray detergent and water over the dishes when cleaning.
  • Innovative dish rack designs maximize cleaning by strategically situating the dishes.

ENERGY STAR effect

Standard-size dishwashers that have earned the ENERGY STAR are, on average, 12 percent more energy efficient and 30 percent more water efficient than standard models.

  • Trim your utility bills — If you have a dishwasher made before 1994, you're paying an extra $35 a year on your utility bills compared to owning a new ENERGY STAR-certified model. Replace one of these old dishwashers with ENERGY STAR and save enough money to pay for dishwasher detergent all year.
  • Save on water — A dishwasher built before 1994 wastes more than 10 gallons of water per cycle. A new, ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher will save, on average, 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime.

If you have to keep your older dishwasher, here are some tips on still saving energy and money.

  • Buy an electricity usage monitor for about $20 to measure the energy use of your dishwasher, according to bankrate.com. These monitors work with any appliance that runs on 120-volt electricity.
  • A faster way to save money and help home appliances work longer is to improve your home by caulking and weatherstripping it, according to a different article on bankrate.com.
  • If your dishwasher is still running pretty well, replace the filters instead.
  • Soak your dishes in hot water with a few drops of dish detergent for about 5-10 minutes. Then clean them with a towel, sponge or steel wool, depending on the dish, to reduce detergent residue.


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