Great news: dishwashers are way more energy-efficient than scrubbing those plates by hand at the sink. If you’re not optimising its use, however, this indispensable kitchen appliance can eat further into your monthly bills. If you want to save money and conserve energy, here are some helpful ways to use your dishwasher more sustainably without compromising on the cleanliness of your dishes.
Skip the pre-rinse
If you find yourself rinsing dishes before you load your dishwasher in fear of scraps clogging up your filter, you’re wasting both hot water and time. Most modern dishwashers are designed to handle dirty dishes without the need for pre-rinsing. Instead, just scrape off excess food particles, rather than rinsing each dish individually.
Eco mode is your friend
Almost every dishwasher has an energy-saving mode or eco-friendly setting that optimises water temperature and cycle length to minimise energy consumption. A CHOICE study found that default and quick-washing programs consume 20–30% more energy than eco modes, so you can expect to slash up to a third of your dishwasher’s energy consumption just by going eco. Check your user manual to understand the available settings before choosing the most energy-efficient option.
Run full loads at off-peak times
Unless your appliance has a half-load setting, you should only run your dishwasher when it’s at full capacity, otherwise, you’re just washing water and energy down the drain. To really maximise those savings, program your dishwasher to come on during off-peak hours when electricity rates may be lower.
Contact your utility provider or visit their website to determine the specific off-peak hours for electricity usage. Off-peak hours will typically occur over late evenings, early mornings or on weekends.
Air-dry when possible
Instead of using the dishwasher's built-in heated drying feature, air-drying is a function that uses room-temperature air to dry dishes by circulating it around the machine with internal fans.
Since air-drying doesn’t use heat, it not only saves energy but also reduces wear and tear on your dishwasher's heating element. If you don’t have an air-dry mode, you could consider opening the dishwasher after the cycle is complete and allow the dishes to dry naturally before removing them.
When it’s time to upgrade, choose an energy-efficient model
When your dishwasher is on its last legs and it’s time to invest in a replacement, be mindful about upgrading to an energy-efficient model that will lessen your household’s environmental impact and save you money over time. All dishwashers on the market today are required to carry an Energy Rating Label, this is a handy way to establish its estimated energy consumption.
First, work out the physical size and internal capacity of the dishwasher you need. Then, compare models in that category by looking at the label’s star rating–the more stars, the more savings you’ll make.
- Scrape off excess food particles instead of rinsing each dish individually before loading your dishwasher.
- Lower your dishwasher’s energy consumption by up to almost a third by using its eco mode.
- Use the dishwasher's air-drying function instead of heat-drying dishes.
- When upgrading, choose an energy-efficient dishwasher with more stars on the Energy Rating Label.
ActewAGL's energy saving tips are designed to help you take control of your energy use, while reducing your bills and environmental impact. Save with great value energy plans backed by our sustainability promise, supported by 100% local, award-winning service - so you can LIVE A Good Life now and into the future.
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Disclaimer: These Energy Savings tips and articles are for information purposes only. Please ensure you are aware of any safety precautions before operating appliances or products.