If you are concerned about conserving water and reducing your family’s energy consumption you may have assumed that sticking with hand washing your dishes is the best choice. You may be surprised to learn that there are many variables to consider when comparing the use of a dishwasher to hand washing your dishes. Consider these facts before you decide whether to stay with hand washing your dishes or switch to a dishwasher.
If you assumed that a dishwasher uses more water than traditional hand washing of your dishes, you might be surprised to learn that the opposite is more often true. According to one European study, it takes up to 27 gallons of water to hand wash a 12 place setting, while an efficient dishwasher can accomplish the job with only 4.7 gallons. Of course, the actual water use depends on your dishwashing habits and the efficiency of your dishwasher.
These figures are calculated under the assumption that you leave the water running as you soap up and wash each dish. Soaking your dishes in a basin and rinsing them in another basin of clean water can greatly reduce the amount of water you use when hand washing your dishes. Having your plumber install an aerator on your kitchen faucet will also reduce the amount of water you use to hand wash your dishes.
Because a dishwasher typically uses less water than washing the dishes by hand, the energy cost associated with heating the water is also reduced. In the study above, people who used a dishwasher instead of hand washing their dishes saved 1-kilowatt hour of energy over hand washing. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program, you can save up save up to 5,000 gallons of water and reduce your energy costs by $40 a year by switching from hand washing your dishes to using an energy efficient dishwasher.
Time is a valuable commodity in today’s busy lifestyles and dishwashers are time savers for most families. While it does take time to scrap and rinse dishes before loading the dishwasher and additional time to unload them and put them away, using a dishwasher still takes less time than hand washing your dishes. The average time for hand washing dishes is about one hour, while loading and unloading the dishwasher requires an average of nine minutes.
Many people complain that the dishwasher does not get the dishes as clean as hand washing does. This is a common problem if the dishes are not scraped or rinsed well before loading the dishwasher or if they are not loaded properly. Check the instructions for loading your dishwasher and always choose a quality dishwashing detergent.
If you live alone or with a spouse or significant other and only use a few dishes at a time, a dishwasher may not be the best choice for you. Because the dishwasher is most efficient when it is full, you may need to wait several days before running a load. Dishes that sit for days may be more difficult to clean and you may experience stuck on bits of food.
If you are ready to install a new dishwasher, contact us today. We can also check and service your water heater for you to ensure that everything is working efficiently.