How Much Water Does a Dishwasher Use?

Posted May 16, 2022

Although dishwashers have been making life more convenient for over a century, the debate about their water usage still rages on. You have probably heard that home dishwashers use less water than washing dishes by hand. Yet, many people insist that handwashing is more environmentally friendly.

If you have ever found yourself having this discussion with someone, you already know that water conservation is an important issue. Since they are one of the largest appliances in our home, it is easy to assume that they use a lot of water. But how much water do today’s dishwashers actually use?


Average Water Usage

Since dishwashers were first invented in 1850, the amount of water they use has continually decreased over time. With greener intentions in mind, manufacturers and consumers have continued to search for more economical solutions.

Water usage fluctuates by model. While some pre-2013 models use between nine and 14 gallons of water per load, new regulations require that newer dishwashers use only five gallons per load. Yet, much of a dishwasher’s water usage comes from the way you use the dishwasher and the settings that you choose. It means that your personal usage will vary.

Energy-Efficient Dishwasher Usage

If you have an Energy-Star rated dishwasher, you may have already noticed a decrease in your water bill. According to the Department of Energy, dishwashers that carry this label can save you over 5,000 gallons per year. Their per-load water capacity is capped at three gallons per load. When you compare it to the 2.2 gallons of water that come out of the tap every minute that you are handwashing, it is quite a significant savings.

Ways to Save Dishwasher Water Usage

While there are industry limits on how much water dishwashers can use, it can vary depending on your customized settings. No matter which type of dishwasher you currently have, there are measures you can make your dishwasher run more efficiently. Here are some of our recommendations.

1. Only run your dishwasher when it is full. Most dishwashers use the same amount of power and water to wash a full load as an incomplete load. Choosing a smaller dishwasher or a double dish drawer will give you the option to wash fewer dishes at once while limiting your water usage.

2. Do not use the drying cycle. Save energy by ditching the heat dry cycle and open the dishwasher door as soon as the wash cycle is complete. Allowing your dishes to air dry can save on energy usage. Select dishwashers feature settings to automatically open the dishwasher door once the washing cycle is complete making this step even easier.

3. Repair or replace dishwashers immediately. Whether your dishwasher is leaking or overusing water, it can quickly make your water bill add up. A damaged dishwasher is more than just an annoyance; if not repaired quickly, it can cause extensive water damage. If you think your dishwasher has outlived its life, consider replacing it with a new dishwasher model.

4. Opt for a shorter cycle. There are often different cycles you can choose for each load of dishes. While we tend to think that the longer cycle gets our dishes cleaner, it is not always the case. If you have scraped your dishes offer before placing them in the dishwasher, a shorter cycle will work just fine.

5. Carefully arrange your dishes. The way you place your dishes can have a big impact on water usage and cleanliness. For instance, placing large plates or pots near the detergent compartment prevent the detergent from reaching the rest of the load. Always place larger dishes towards the back.

6. Fill your dishwasher, but not too much. While only running your dishwasher when it is full is a great way to save energy and water, it’s important to avoid overfilling it. When there’s not enough room for water and detergent to properly circulate, you may find yourself needing to run the dishwasher again.

7. Periodically clean your dishwasher. Over time, minerals and deposits will build up on the sprayers of your dishwasher causing it to run inefficiently. Follow our tips on how to clean your dishwasher on a regular basis to keep it running well.

Shop for a New Dishwasher at Queen City

Are you ready for a new dishwasher? Queen City’s team of experts are ready to help you find the perfect dishwasher to meet your needs. Stop into a Queen City location near you to learn more about our most efficient models and shop in person today.

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