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Dishwashers: Clean Up on Savings

Let’s Dish: Efficiency Basics

Ready to save water and save energy? According American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), 60% of energy used by dishwashers is just to heat the water, so machines with better water efficiency also save energy. Surprisingly, hand-washing dishes won’t produce the annual savings you get from an energy-efficient dishwasher.

Energy-Efficient Technology & Savings

Like clothes washers, most of the energy used by dishwashers is to heat water. Today’s dishwashers are more powerful and can clean your dishes better than older machines. New technologies account for an annual savings of $51 to $771,2. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a new dishwasher also uses almost half the water—about 1,300 fewer gallons—over its lifetime than one built before 19943,4. That’s a lot less water to heat.


Hands Down Better Than Hand Washing

Studies show that a dishwasher can be more efficient than hand washing your dishes. Even without pre-rinsing, most new dishwashers clean effectively using very little water. Energy-saving cycle options and built-in booster heaters also reduce water heating and drying costs. Because dishwashers don’t use as much energy as refrigerators and laundry machines, you may not see as much savings by replacing your dishwasher as you would by replacing these other appliances. If you do decide to invest in a new dishwasher, our Buyer’s Guide can help you choose the most energy-efficient option.


Use & Care

Proper maintenance and installation of your home’s dishwasher will maximize efficiency measures. Learn more about Dishwasher Use & Care, where to start, and how to care for and use your dishwasher for the most savings. Return to Kitchen Appliances.

Buyer’s Guide

Before you shop for efficiency upgrades, visit the Dishwasher Buyer’s Guide for easy facts and figures that can help you choose the best equipment and materials for your home, needs and budget.

1Goorskey, Sarah, Wang, K., Smith, A. (2004). Home Energy Briefs: #6 Cleaning Appliances. Snowmass, CO: Rocky Mountain Institute. Retrieved October 4, 2012, from http://www.rmi.org/rmi/pid217 (p. 4).
2This assumes an electricity rate of $0.17/kWh, Calculated using the kWh savings from Rocky Mountain Institute's Home Energy Briefs #6 Cleaning Appliances.
3ENERGY STAR®. (2011). FAQ: How much water do ENERGY STAR dishwashers use? Is there a water-efficiency metric (“water factor”) for ENERGY STAR dishwashers like there is for ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washers. Retrieved October 9, 2012, from http://energystar.supportportal.com
4ENERGY STAR®. Dishwashers for Consumers: Overview. Retrieved October 9, 2012, from http://www.energystar.gov

This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by Southern California Edison under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

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