You may be surprised to learn that using a dishwasher to clean your dishes is more water and energy efficient than cleaning your dishes by hand. But if you are using a dishwasher, make sure that it is a newer, more efficient model, because you could be wasting serious water, energy, and cash otherwise.
According to CNET, washing your dishes in the sink can use up to 27 gallons per load. That is nine times as much as an Energy Star certified dishwasher! If you are washing your dishes by hand, you can save almost 5,000 gallons of water per year just by buying a new dishwasher.
And it is important to buy a new dishwasher, because older models are significantly less efficient than newer models. According to Energy Star, a dishwasher built before 1994 wastes more than 10 gallons of water per cycle. In 2013, new rules required dishwashers to use less than 5 gallons per load. So if your dishwasher was made before 1994, you definitely need to upgrade and if your dishwasher was made prior to 2013, you probably should upgrade to a newer Energy Star model.
ENERGY STAR-certified dishwashers include several innovative features that reduce energy and water consumption and improve its overall dishwashing capabilities. Below are some of the features that ENERGY STAR has indicated as important to a new dishwasher’s efficiency and performance:
- Soil sensors test how dirty dishes are throughout the wash and adjust the cycle to achieve optimum cleaning with minimum 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 assures your dishes come out sparkling.
- 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.
Along with saving you money on your water bill, using an ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher can save you money on your electricity bill too. An efficient dishwasher will heat the water needed to clean your dishes much more efficiently than your home’s water heater can. In fact, an ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher uses about half of the energy needed to heat the water than if you wash those same dishes by hand.