The kitchen is a great place to start when trying to save money on your utility bill. Look no further than your dishwasher! If you're using an out-dated dishwasher, you could be spending 3 times more money on electricity and water.
How much does it cost to use a dishwasher?
If you’re using an older dishwasher model, the cost to run it will be higher. Older dishwashers from the 1990’s and prior can use up to 15 gallons of water and over three times more electricity (kWh). These models use up to 15 gallons per load and will cost up to $20.34/month in electricity expenses.
Older Energy Star dishwashers from the early 2000’s have become more efficient on water usage, only using five gallons per load, so the electricity costs are cut in half. An 1800 Watt dishwasher can cost a mere $17.06 per month, on two hours of use per day.
The newest energy-efficient dishwashers have increased savings even further, ever so slightly. New Energy Star dishwashers use only 3.2 gallons of water per load and only costs $13.77/month. If you choose a 1200 Watt model, however, you can drop the cost down to a mere $4.38/month on electricity alone! With the operating cost, this would be $10/month!
In short, you can cut down total cost by investing in an energy-efficient dishwasher from over $20/month to $10/month, even with daily use.
What to Look for When Buying a New Dishwasher
Choose a model that’s EnergyStar-certified, and take note of the label that says how much electricity the machine will use in a year. EnergyStar-certified machines often have an “eco” setting, which saves energy over the standard operating mode. You’ll also want a model with an air-dry option, which is much more efficient than a heat-dry cycle. By choosing to air dry, you’ll save about 15% of the total energy use per load.
“By choosing to air dry, you’ll save about 15% of the total energy use per load.”
Another consideration is to get a dishwasher with a delay option that allows you to set the dishwasher to run during non-peak hours, which can save an additional 50% of energy costs. Read below for more details.
Wash Dishes at Night
Your utility company can tell you which hour is most efficient to run your appliance. For example, running a dishwasher at night can save you half the costs compared with using the dishwasher during peak hours when the demand is highest. Peak electrical use hours are between 1:00PM to 7:00PM. Non-peak hours are between 9:00 PM to 10:00 AM. If you use appliances after 10 PM, you’ll start seeing a large difference in your energy rates, up to 50% in savings! 
“If you use appliances after 10 PM, you’ll start seeing a large difference in your energy rates, up to 50% in savings!”
Regularly Run and Maintain your Dishwasher
This may seem obvious, but your dishwasher should only be run when it’s full of dirty dishes. If you run a load of dishes nightly, pre-rinsing is no longer necessary with most modern machines. Simply scrape off the dishes and load. You’ll save time and energy, not to mention you’ll use much less water. If it takes several days to fill up the dishwasher, try using the “rinse” cycle each night to clear food particles from your dishes.
“If you run a load of dishes nightly, pre-rinsing is no longer necessary with most modern machines.”
Finally, ensure your machine is properly maintained. Change the filter at the bottom of the dishwasher according to the manufacturer’s instructions. And every six months, run the machine while it’s empty with a cup of white vinegar to help clean the spray arms and remove hard-water buildup.