What is My Dishwasher Trying to Tell Me? | Direct Energy Blog

What is My Dishwasher Trying to Tell Me?

Did you know your appliances are talking to you? Really, they are! Did you also know you can also learn an awful lot by listening to them? Really, you can! You can find out how much electricity you’re using — and how much money you’re spending, too! To highlight what customers can discover with Direct Energy’s Direct Your Energy Insights Tool, we’re going to dig into some of the lesser-known ways your appliances affect your electric bill. By learning more about your electricity usage, you’ll use less of what we sell!

What is My Dishwasher Trying to Tell Me? | Direct Energy Blog

What is My Dishwasher Trying to Tell Me?

Apart from sparkling clean dishes, the main thing that comes out of a dishwasher is heat from hot water or heated drying. In fall and winter, that might not be so bad but in the middle of a hot summer, all that heat winds up adding to your home’s cooling load. That’s why dishwashers should be one of the last things that say “Goodnight” to you. All their heat is easier to dissipate after the sun goes down.

There are also several other ways you can save money and energy when you run your dishwasher:

1. Wash full loads only.
If you need to let a small load wait all day for a full load, pre-rinse dishes in the sink to prevent food from drying on.

2. Avoid overloading.
Water needs to circulate freely at pressure inside while the dishwasher is running. Otherwise, your dishes might not get thoroughly cleaned.

What is My Dishwasher Trying to Tell Me? | Direct Energy Blog

3. Turn off “heated dry”.
Most newer dishwashers have a system that vents the steam; however, you can also prop open the door to let the steam out once the load has finished. The dishes will be hot. Consumer dishwashers certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) are required to go through a final rinse temperature of 150º F. Propping open the door lets out the moisture so there’s no need for heated drying.

4. Dishwashers need cleaning, too.
Spray arms get clogged with soap scum, lime scale, and food particles. Filters get clogged. Rogue pieces of lettuce or gobs of smushy rice get caught in moving parts. Every so often, check spray nozzles for clogs. Soak them with vinegar to remove scale. You can also pour baking soda into the bottom and run a short cycle. For stubborn stain problems with mineral deposits, consider using a store-bought hard water stain remover.

The other alternative is to do dishes by hand. Oddly enough, more people might do that than is expected. Dishwashers are actually becoming the least used appliance in the US. According to EIA data for 2015,“Of the 80 million households that have a dishwasher, 16 million (almost 20%) did not use their dishwasher…” According to incomes, over 30% of households making up to $39,000/year only used their dishwasher less than once a week. Over all, about 54% of all U.S. households have a dishwasher but only use it at least once a week.

Want to know how you can save even more?

Customers who sign up with a Direct Energy plan can get complete access to the Energy Insights Tool to help them monitor their usage and take more control of bill. If you’re a Texas resident, you can save even more by signing up with Direct Energy’s Free Weekends. From Friday at 6 PM to Sunday at 11:59pm, you’ll get FREE electricity. Just by switching to Direct Energy and saving your laundry for the weekend, you’ll really clean up!


Vernon Trollinger is a writer with a background in home improvement, electronics, fiction writing, and archaeology. He now writes about green energy technology, home energy efficiency, the natural gas industry, and the electrical grid.

Leave a Reply