Although invented in the late 1800s, these kitchen appliances did not gain popularity till the 1970s. In the past four decades, dishwashers have been rated one of the most important kitchen appliances by average and middle-sized families. More people are becoming aware of the fact that these units save not only time and effort; they also save money and energy.
Pick a dishwasher depending on your budget and how much space you have to spare in your kitchen. A good unit made internationally can cost you between 350 and 2500 dollars, while an American brand will cost you anything between 200 and 1350 dollars.
Make sure your unit has all the basic features like sensors to control the amount of water, pressure and heat to use; child locks to prevent any accidents, and a good sound dampening system.
There are two varieties available: standalone or portable units, and integrated or under-the-cabinet units. Although priced similarly, integrated units will cost you an additional amount of up to a hundred dollars for installation charges. If you live in a rented apartment or house and know that you will be moving, portable units are the best choice. Integrated units are usually provided with panels on the top and the front, which can be customized to match the rest of your kitchen interiors and fittings.
Depending on how many dishes you need to wash on a regular basis, you can choose between tall tub and compact units. While tall tubs can take a bigger stack of dishes, compact tubs use less water.
According to the United States Environment Protection Agency, there are basic energy standards that all units, whether made internationally or locally, have to match up to. A dishwasher might use up 70 dollars worth of energy in a year and a good brand can help reduce that amount to around 50 dollars.
If you are smart when it comes to using your dishwasher, you do not have to pay too much in energy bills. Most of the energy consumed by a washing unit is used to generate heat, which is transferred to the water during rinsing and to create warm air during the drying process. By ensuring that the water entering the tub is already warmed and by keeping the unit door open after a wash to let the load dry naturally, you can avoid using too much energy. Also, make sure the washer is full before you start a cycle because even if you do set the cycle for a small load, there is not a very big difference in the amount of water used up while cleaning.