When it comes to kitchen cleanup, there’s no need for green consumers to snub the dishwasher. In fact, a consumer who wisely runs an energy-efficient model can save money and the planet, according to a recent University of Bonn study.
Start by choosing the right machine. Taking into consideration how many people are in the household, buy the smallest machine possible. Also, spring for the most energy-efficient model you can find. A new, energy-efficient dishwasher can save a family hundreds of dollars per year.
For a list of the most energy-efficient dishwashers on the market, check out the consumer.org.nz recommendations. Avoid machines that have “dirt sensors” or claim to be “smart” machines. The energy rating for the machine does not take this feature into consideration, which is misleading and can lead to unexpected energy costs.
When choosing a dish washing detergent, look for a powder without petroleum or phosphates. Popular green brands include Earth Friendly Products, Method, Seventh Generation or Mrs. Meyer’s. These natural detergents are biodegradable. If phosphate-free powders leave your dishes spotty, add an all-natural shine product, such as Wave Jet.
Only run the machine when it is full to maximize water, energy and detergent use. Doing so can save you 400 gallons of water per year. Also, forget rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. The latest models were designed eliminate this step.
Start the machine before you go to bed. Using energy at an off-peak time will save money and put less strain on the electric grid.
Avoid using a heat booster setting. This setting uses 80 percent of the total energy required to run the machine. Because the dishwasher uses water from the hot water heater, there is no need to increase the heat of the water. In fact, it is wise to decrease your home’s hot water heater temperature to 120 degrees or less.
Allow dishes to dry naturally by simply opening the dishwasher door and rolling out the drawers. Dry cycles waste energy heating the machine and can also raise home cooling costs.
If you have the option, arrange the kitchen so that the dishwasher is not next to the refrigerator. Dishwashers create enough heat to affect the temperature of a neighboring appliance. Separating the two will keep the refrigerator running efficiently.
Following these tips will lower your energy bill without harming the environment.