At Home with Lisa: Dishwashing

My least favorite chore around the house is and always has been doing the dishes. When I bought my house, I was thrilled it had a dishwasher. It had been years since I had one and I was so happy to not have to wash my dishes by hand anymore.

It turns out, if you are hoping to be more energy efficient, a dishwasher is the way to go. According to Avista’s Energy Guide, you can save 5,000 gallons of water a year and $40 in energy costs a year by using a dishwasher, rather than washing your dishes by hand.

Models of dishwashers made in the last five to 10 years can clean heavily soiled dishes without rinsing, so just scrape your dishes. Also, wait until your dishwasher is full before you run it. It takes just as much water and energy to wash one dish as it does to wash a whole load.

You can also choose to air dry your dishes, rather than using the heating element in your dishwasher. On my dishwasher, I just press the button that turns the heat dry off.

Like all of my large appliances, I don’t know how old my dishwasher is, and I’m thinking that I’ll need to replace it in a few years. One of the first things I had to do when I moved into my house was fix the latch on it. I also make sure to clean it on a regular basis.

Every three or four months or so, I put on some rubber gloves and pick up any food particles from the bottom of my dishwasher. Then, I’ll place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack and run it. Finally, I’ll sprinkle baking soda on the bottom and run another cycle. After that, it’s generally good to go.

Now that I know it’s more energy efficient to use a dishwasher, I’m keeping my old machine in tip-top shape.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday.

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