The Green Minute: Green Up Your Dishwasher

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image11759120One energy intensive household item our readers use 5-7 times a week is the dishwasher. So how can a few eco-friendly tips help you save energy and subsequently money?

For today’s Green Minute here are actions you can take to make your dishwasher more efficient.

Load the Dishwasher Properly

Don’t rinse dishes off in the sink before running them through the dishwasher. That will just waste water. Scrape off large bits of food into the trash or compost pile and let the machine do the work. Make sure the dishes are in their proper slots and don’t overload the dishwasher in such a way as to prohibit its efficiency – blocking the water arms.

Dishwasher Settings

Do not use the “rinse hold” setting on the dishwasher if the dishes are lightly soiled; this setting uses 3 to 7 more gallons of hot water and should be reserved for full loads of heavily soiled dishes. The Department of Energy suggests the use of the “air dry” setting on the dishwasher instead of heat drying to reduce energy use.

Running the Dishwasher

Run the dishwasher only when you have a full load of dishes; running numerous small loads increases inefficient water and energy use. If you have only a few dishes, consider washing them the old fashioned way – by hand.

Look for the Energy Star Label

When upgrading your older model dishwasher look for an Energy Star certified model which will insure that you are buying an energy efficient model. Dishwashers built before 1994 cost $40 more in energy per year and can use an average of 1300 more gallons of water than a more efficient model.

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