Dishwasher Care and Maintenance

Your dishwasher cleans by spraying a mixture of hot water and detergent through the spray arms against soiled surfaces. Each cycle begins with a pre-drain. Next, the dishwasher fills with water covering the filter area.Water is then pumped through the filter and spray arms. Soil particles go down the drain as the water is pumped out and replaced with clean water. The number of water fills will vary with the cycle being used. Some of these dishwasher parts are capable of “seeing” the amount of dirt in the water, and can therefore change the amount of wash time needed to clean the dishes. In addition, many dishwashers now have a stainless steel interior which can last for 20 or more years.  In the early days dishwashers were solidly built, but used tons of hot water and were very noisy. In recent years, the most interesting advances have come from the use of more sophisticated electronics.

Energy Saving Tips for your Dishwasher

1. Use energy-saving cycles whenever possible.

2. If your dishwasher has a booster heater, turn down your water heater thermostat. Most dishwasher booster heaters can raise water temperature at least 20 F, so a setting of 120 F for your water heater should work fine. The washing cycle will take longer if the dishwasher has to boost the temperature, but unless you need to wash several loads in a row, this shouldn’t be a problem.

3. Use the no-heat air-dry feature on your dishwasher if it has one. If you have an older dishwasher that doesn’t include this feature, you can turn the dishwasher off after the final rinse cycle is completed an open the door to allow air drying. Using the no-heat dry feature or opening and air drying the dishes will increase the drying time, and it could lead to increased spotting, according to some in the industry. But try this method sometime to see how well it works with your machine.

4. Don’t pre-rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Modern dishwashers do a superb job of cleaning even heavily soiled dishes. Scrape off food and empty liquids—the dishwasher will do the rest. If you must rinse dishes first, at least use cold water.

5. Wash only full loads. The dishwasher uses the same amount of water whether it’s half-full or completely full. Putting dishes in the dishwasher throughout the day and running it once in the evening will use less water and energy than washing the dishes by hand throughout the day. If you currently wash dishes by hand and fill sinks or plastic tubs with water, it’s pretty easy to figure out whether you would use less water with a dishwasher. Simply measure how much water it takes to fill the wash and rinse containers. If you wash dishes by hand two or three times a day, you might be surprised to find out how much water you’re currently using. Whether or not you will save energy by switching from washing-by-hand to using a dishwasher depends on both the dishwasher and how you wash the dishes by hand.

6. Load dishes according to manufacturer’s instructions. Completely fill the racks to optimize water and energy use, but allow proper water circulation for adequate cleaning.

Factors Affecting Performance

Water Pressure

The hot water line to dishwasher must provide water pressure between 20 and 120 psi.  This is what the inlet water valve needs to operate properly. Low water pressure may occur when laundry or showers are in operation. Wait until water use is reduced before starting dishwasher.  Basically it's not good to run the Dishwasher when somebody is in the shower.

Water Temperature

Hot water is needed for best dishwashing and drying results. Water entering dishwasher should be at least 120°F (49°C) to give satisfactory results. To check water temperature entering dishwasher: • Turn on hot water faucet nearest dishwasher for several minutes to clear cool water from pipes. • Hold a candy or meat thermometer in stream of water to check the temperature. • If temperature is below 120°F (49°C), have a qualified person raise the hot water heater thermostat setting. Important: Before starting a cycle, run the hot water faucet to clear the cold water from the pipes.