Mother Earth Living

Buy the Best Energy-Efficient Dishwasher

How to buy an energy efficient dishwasher.
By Misty McNally
September/October 2007
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The Asko D3531 dishwasher exceeds minimum federal energy standards by 141 percent.

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New, efficient dishwashers use less hot water, have energy-efficient motors, and use sensors to determine wash cycle length and water temperature. So how do you choose a new one?

1. Seek out the Energy Star logo. Dishwashers that meet the newly improved 2007 Energy Star criteria are at least 41 percent more efficient than federal energy efficiency standards. Some Energy Star dishwashers qualify for federal tax credits.

2. Think small. The bigger the dishwasher, the more water and power it uses. Unless you have a large family or go through a lot of dishes daily, choose a smaller, less expensive model.

3. Shorten the cycle. Choose a dishwasher with an “energy-saving” or “light wash” cycle that uses less water and operates for a shorter time.

4. Look for an air-dry option that employs circulation fans. Heat-dry modes use heating coils, which draw considerable electricity.

5. Read the EnergyGuide label, which shows how much energy each unit uses compared with similar models.

6. Opt for a hot water booster, an internal water heater that raises water temperature inside the dishwasher (most Energy Star models have this).

7. Think long term. Most energy- and water-efficient appliances cost more initially, but they’ll save you money in the long run through lower monthly utility bills.

Go to Energy Star for more information on energy-efficient appliances.

Clean-Up Tips

Did you know that washing dishes in a fully loaded dishwasher saves money over washing the same dishes by hand? Dishwashers use 3.5 to 12 gallons of water per lead; hand dishwashing can use 15 to 16 gallons. Here are other tips to maximize the energy used to run your dishwasher.

■ Don’t waste water by pre-rinsing dishes—just scrape off food and load the machine.

■ Load dishes according to manufacturer instructions to allow for proper water circulation.

■ Only run the dishwasher with a full load.

■ Use energy-saving cycles whenever possible.

■ Clean dishwasher drains and filters regularly to ensure efficient operation.

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