Smarter Living: Energy

When your dishwasher is busted, the logical thing to do would be to call a repairman and get it fixed. You can't just run out and buy new appliances the second they break down. In addition to the cost consideration, new appliances require energy to produce, and old machines can burden landfills when they're replaced. But when it comes to a malfunctioning dishwasher, consider carefully, because the latest models may be much greener than the machine you're currently using.

The biggest factor to consider is whether your current dishwasher is Energy Star-certified. Energy Star models are 41 percent more efficient than the minimum federal standards.They consume less hot water, have energy-efficient motors and use sensors to determine the length of the wash cycle. If your dishwasher was manufactured before 1994, you'll save more than $30 a year with a new Energy Star-certified machine.

When shopping for a new dishwasher, choose one with a "light wash" or "energy saving" cycle, and expect to hang on to it for about nine years, suggests the National Association of Home Builders. And when your dishwasher has expired, do replace it, since hand-washing dishes generally uses more water than dishwashers do.

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The Great Dishwasher Debate

last revised 11/9/2011

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