How Efficient are Your Existing Appliances? – Part 1
[photo property of Bosch Home]
As I’ve alluded to before, making large monetary investments is not the only way to start improving the efficiency of your home. Where there is high electricity consumption (which most of our commonly used home appliances require), there are more opportunities to save. This is the first in a series of basic tips for operating your existing electronic appliances to ensure they are running in a way that is most effective. It is said that the kitchen of the heart of the home, so let’s start there with the dishwasher.
Dishwasher (Ranked #12 in the Top 25 Electricity Users in US homes*)
  • Only run your dishwasher when full. Doing so reduces water usage by 30% compared to washing by hand; running a partial load is the most wasteful option of all.
  • Keep your pre-washing to a bare minimum. The age of your dishwasher will dictate how skilled it is at removing stuck-on food, but play around with it to gauge where it’s at. As a kid, my grandmother taught me to completely wash a dish by hand and then stick it in the dishwasher. This is doing the dishwasher’s work for it. Most dishwashers have sensors to identify when particulates are still in the water and will work until the dishes are clean.
  • If you are a habitual pre-washer and worry your food is going to get more caked on as you wait several days to fill your dishwasher, use your rinse and hold cycle. It will gently remove food without going through the entire sanitizing process.
  • Use the best available settings. Elect to use the ECO or energy saver cycle if available. Your dishwasher will adjust how the water is heated and use water more effectively. All in all, it can reduce your energy use by 20%.
  • Opt out of the drying setting. Opening the door when the cycle is complete will dry your dishes in no time.
  • Set your dishwasher to run overnight. Generally, utility companies charge higher rates when energy is used during peak hours because it causes a higher strain on their infrastructure. By delaying your cycle until the middle of the night, your energy consumption will be automatically reduced. Check with your local utility companies to find out what they consider peak and off-peak hours.
 Bonus tips for those of us without dishwashers: Use a multi-basin option if available. Scrape dishes of excess food, then put them into a first basin of warm water to soak and start to get the grim off. (You have the option to use a little soap in here to break down the food.) After a few minutes if there are any food scraps still stuck on, use an abrasive brush to remove and give the dish a quick dunk in the first bin to rid it of scraps. Next scrub the soaked dish with soap on a sponge, but do not have the water running. As long as the sponge is sudsy you don’t need water at this point. Finally, remove the suds by dunking the dish into a second basin of cold water. Set out to dry.
* According to Bruce Harley in Cut Your Energy Bills Now

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