Why short dishwasher cycles are often the most expensive


With the energy crisis pushing electricity costs up to terrifying new highs, many dishwasher owners may be tempted to plump for quick-wash cycles. However, dishwashers often use less electricity and water on their longest cycles, meaning a wash that takes more than three hours could often be cheaper than one lasting a mere 40 minutes.

Information on the power and water consumption is often tucked away in the back pages of dishwasher manuals, and manufacturers often only quote the power/water usage for their most frugal cycles. However, it’s often the case that “eco” modes with longer cycles use less energy.

Bosch, for example, claims that “in Eco mode, a wash cycle uses 0.73 kWh. Compared to the Auto programme, that will save you around 523 kWh over a year.” Given that the UK energy cap will rise to £0.52 per kWh in October, switching to Eco mode could save you £272 over the course of a year, excluding any water savings.

Likewise, the ‘Normal’ cycle on a Samsung D154 Series dishwasher will consume 1.4 kWh and 18.4 litres of water, whereas the Eco mode uses only 0.96 kWh and 10 litres of water. Assuming you use the dishwasher once a day, that’s an annual saving of £84 on the electricity alone.

Here are more tips for saving money on dishwasher cycles:

·  Don’t heat dry – these settings burn through electricity and most dishwashers will air dry dishes by automatically opening the door at the end of cycles. This alone can cut energy costs by half per cycle.

·  Avoid heavy duty or ‘dirty pan’ cycles – leave pans to soak in the sink before dishwashing to avoid having to use these energy-intensive cycles, which rely on high water temperatures.

·  Likewise avoid ‘steam’ or ‘sterilise’ settings – these again will use a lot of energy to get water temperatures up to 70C or beyond. There are more cost-effective ways of sterilising baby bottles.

·  Look for ‘eco’ and ‘smart scan’ settings – these are likely to be the most energy efficient, even if cycles take longer. Scan settings automatically adjust temperatures and the amount of water used depending on how dirty plates are and the number of dishes loaded. At least, that’s the theory.

·  Fill the dishwasher, but stack sensibly – don’t run dishwashers on half loads. Even ‘half load’ settings normally use more than half the energy of a full run. Don’t jam plates and cutlery too tightly together, though, as you’ll end up re-washing items the water jets couldn’t reach.