Dishwashers require a significant amount of energy to operate. Getting the best cleaning results each time you run it, though, can help...

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Dishwashers require a significant amount of energy to operate. Getting the best cleaning results each time you run it, though, can help prevent using the machine more than is necessary.

Here are some useful tips to help get peak performance from your dishwasher:

• Check the dishwasher’s manual for manufacturer’s recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature (120 degrees).

• Scrape, don’t rinse, off large food pieces and bones. Soaking or prewashing is generally only recommended in cases of burned-on or dried-on food.

• Be sure your dishwasher is full, but not overloaded, when you run it.

• Don’t use the “rinse hold” on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3-7 gallons of hot water each time you use it.

• Let your dishes air dry; if you don’t have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open a little so the dishes will dry faster.

• When shopping for a new dishwasher, look for the “Energy Star” label to find a dishwasher that uses less water and 25 percent less energy than required by federal standards.

An EnergyGuide label on a dishwasher estimates how much power is needed per year to run the appliance and to heat the water. Every appliance has two price tags — the purchase price and the operating cost, and a consumer should consider both when buying a new appliance.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy