Most of the energy used by a dishwasher is for heating water. The Energy Guide label attached to new dishwashers estimates the annual power needed to run the appliance and heat the water based on natural gas and electricity costs.
- Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer’s recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature (120°F).
- Scrape, don’t rinse, large food pieces and bones from dishes. Soaking or prewashing is generally only recommended in cases of burned-on or dried-on food.
- Be sure your dishwasher is full, but not overloaded, when you run it.
- Avoid using the “rinse & hold” on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3 to 7 gallons of hot water for each load.
- Let your dishes air dry; if you don’t have an automatic air-dry switch, turn the control knob to “off” after the final rinse and prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster.
Long-Term Savings Tip
- When shopping for a new dishwasher, look for the ENERGY STAR label to find a dishwasher that uses less water and 41% less energy than required by federal standards.
Excerpted from U.S. Department of Energy.