How Much Water Does a Dishwasher Use?

How Much Water Does a Dishwasher Use?

For generations, homes across the country and globally have relied on the convenience of dishwashers. These machines are an excellent alternative to the more tedious and time-consuming traditional handwashing.

With such an extended history, one might believe that the age-old debate over each method’s water efficiency would be laid to rest. But while it’s common knowledge that this appliance saves time and water, most people are still unaware of the average water consumption per cycle.

The amount of water a dishwasher consume is a question common among homeowners. Fortunately, this guide has all the answers.

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How Much Water Does the Average Dishwasher Use?

The constant spraying and noise from within your dishwasher could lead you to think that the machine gulps a considerable amount of water. After all, it’s among the largest appliances in the house.

However, many advanced dishwasher models are more efficient than you might imagine. A standard-sized dishwasher needs about 4.2 gallons per cycle, while the compact varieties use only 3.5 gallons.

Moreover, any brand with the Energy Star certification is even more water- and energy-efficient. A standard Energy Star-certified appliance consumes approximately 3.2 gallons in every wash cycle. On the other hand, compact varieties may use as little as 2.7 gallons.

These dishwashers are specially made to heat and utilize the same amount of water needed for an effective wash. Cleaning the same number of dishes manually could drain way more gallons of precious liquid down the drain!

Related: How Many Amps Does a Dishwasher Use?

Using a Dishwasher Vs. Handwashing

Manual dishwashing wastes your time, physical energy, and water. Machine washing uses four times less water than the manual way. The most outstanding brands can be ten times more efficient than handwashing.

For maximum efficiency, only complete a load when necessary and try as much as possible to use the eco-setting. It’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with the factors determining your machine’s water consumption rate.

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How Do Dishwashers Use So Little Water?

Dishwashers are watertight, but they don’t fill with water. The only thing that fills up is the tiny basin at the bottom of the machine, which holds just the right amount for a perfect clean.

The machine’s heating elements increase the water temperature to over 140 degrees Fahrenheit while mixing with detergent. This improves sanitization and delivers better results than you’d get from the sink. A dishwasher also relieves you from rinsing and scrubbing, saving more than 3,800 gallons over its lifetime.

Factors Impacting Water Usage

Water efficiency varies, even in similar dishwasher brands. The primary factors that can affect your machine’s water usage in a wash cycle include the following:

Dishwasher Age

Always remember the U.S. Department of Energy conservation standards when evaluating a dishwasher’s water efficiency. According to the rule, no devices produced on or after 30th May 2013 should consume more than 5 gallons per wash cycle. Compact dishwashers shouldn’t exceed 3.5 gallons. Dishwashers manufactured after this date are more energy- and water-efficient than those produced earlier.  

Dishwasher Cycle

Advanced dishwasher models have new, remarkable water-efficient cycles like “rinse-only” and “half-load.” But not all cycles need less water. By choosing Heated-Drying, Sanitize, or High-Temperature settings, you’ll use more water, and the wash process will take longer.  

Pre-rinsing Dishes

Besides removing different types of remains on dishes, a dishwasher should process surplus debris for quick and easy disposal. But some users still rinse their dishes thoroughly before loading them in the washer, and keeping the sink faucet running continuously while rinsing can significantly squander water. With an average flow rate of 2.2 gallons per minute, how much water gets lost with only five minutes of rinsing?

Dirt Level

Conversely, predominantly soiled dishes need a longer wash cycle with more water. Therefore, you must strike a balance. For instance, you may consider longer cycles for occasional use when you have dirty utensils, but don’t be tempted to subject every load to those cycles.

Water Temperature

Have you set your water heater to the correct temperature levels? The ideal water temperature for a perfect wash is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. When you use less heat, cleaning will take longer, and you’ll use more water. Consider running your faucet on hot for several minutes before you start the cycle.

Related: How Hot Does a Dishwasher Get?

How Much Water Does A 1-Hour Cycle Consume?

Cycle type is one of the critical determinants of your dishwasher’s water use. Advanced models have specialized sensors for monitoring the unit’s soil level during the wash cycle. Therefore, water consumption and wash cycle duration may vary across loads.

To make it easy to understand, here are the top dishwasher models in terms of water efficiency:

Whirlpool Top Control Tall Tub 

This built-in dishwasher ranks among the most water efficient. Whirlpool dishwasher water usage is relatively low across its seven wash cycles. It consumes the following amounts of water per cycle:

  • Sensor – 3.38 to 7.4 gallons
  • Heavy – 7.4 gallons
  • Normal – 2.4 to 7.4 gallons
  • One-Hour Wash – 7.87 gallons
  • Soak and Clean – 7.4 gallons
  • Hi-Temp Wash add-on cycle – 0 to 3.86 gallons
  • Sani Rinse add-on cycle – 0 to 3.86 gallons

Bosch 300 Series

Bosch dishwasher water usage is also among the lowest. This front control tall tub dishwasher uses the following amounts per cycle:

  • Rinse – 1.1 gallons
  • Auto – 3.4 to 6.4 gallons
  • Normal – 2.3 to 5.5 gallons
  • Heavy – 4.9 to 6.4 gallons
  • Speed60 – 3.8 gallons
  • Half Load Normal – 2.8 to 3.7 gallons
  • Half Load Heavy – 4.7 gallons
  • Half Load Auto – 2.7 to 4.4 gallons
  • Sanitize Normal – 2.3 to 5.5 gallons
  • Sanitize Heavy – 4.9 to 6.4 gallons
  • Sanitize Auto – 3.4 to 6.4 gallons
  • Extra Dry Normal – 2.4 to 5.5 gallons
  • Extra Dry Heavy – 4.9 to 6.4 gallons
  • Extra Dry Auto – 3.5 to 6.5 gallons
  • Extra Dry Speed60 – 3.8 gallons

Samsung Front Control Dishwasher

The giant electronics manufacturer provides some of the best water-efficient dishwashers. Samsung dishwasher water usage stats for this front control model include the following:

  • Normal – 3 to 6 gallons
  • Heavy – 7.3 gallons
  • Auto – 3 to 6 gallons
  • Express – 4 gallons

LG Front Control

Like its Samsung equal, this device also has outstanding water efficiency for a fixed dishwasher. Here are the consumption rates of the built-in tall tub dishwasher. 

  • Auto – 3.6 to 5.9 gallons
  • Heavy – 5.4 gallons
  • Delicate – 5.2 gallons
  • Normal – 2.4 to 5.2 gallons
  • Turbo – 7.3 gallons
  • Express – 4.5 gallons
  • Rinse – 1.8 gallons
  • Machine Clean – 3.2 gallons

Related: Plastic vs. Stainless Steel Dishwasher Tub

How to Cut Down Your Dishwasher Water Usage

Dishwashers are generally eco-friendlier than manual washing. However, you’ll most likely use both methods occasionally. So how do you do it while maintaining the highest water efficiency? Here are some practical tips:

Choose an Efficient Model

The primary, most sensible way to cut water usage is by choosing a more energy-efficient machine. Most brands indicate this in their product descriptions, so you’ll not have a hard time figuring out the approximate consumption rate per cycle. You must pick one with an Energy Star rating.  

Load The Dishwasher Properly

Making sure your load is always full before washing can save you lots of water and electricity. Moreover, always ensure that the appliance is loaded correctly, or you’ll be forced to re-wash and use more water.

Avoid Pre-Rinsing

While the dishwasher can effectively cut water wastage, pre-rinsing can consume significantly more water. On average, you could be pouring over 22,000 liters of water annually.  

Leverage Eco and Energy Save Programs

These programs are unsurprisingly more energy- and water-efficient. They use about three liters less than typical cycles and wash dishes at lower temperatures. Some models also offer Quick Wash or Low Water cycles.  

Avoid The Half-Load Setting

Contrary to common belief, a half-load setting doesn’t mean the dishwasher consumes half the standard amount of water. Yes, the program is water efficient and consumes less energy, but you’ll not save half the water. It’s always sensible to wait until you have a complete load before setting the water-saving or economy cycle.

Try Air Drying

Instead of drying your dishes with the dishwasher’s fan or electric heat, open the door after a cycle and let your items dry. Doing this routinely can significantly decrease your device’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Keep Your Washer in Great Condition

Your dishwasher can only deliver its full efficiency if you maintain its tip-top condition. So go through the seemingly boring guides and instructions to understand the required essential maintenance.

Final Thoughts

Indeed, it’s clear that dishwashers are not only energy efficient, but they also allow you to cut down water wastage significantly. But brands and models vary, and each comes with its energy and water requirements, efficiency technology, and power consumption rate. Therefore, it’s always ideal to choose a suitable machine.

Go through the user manual and instructions that come with the product to understand the specifics. It’s also helpful to seek the opinions of family members and friends and go through our best dishwasher reviews to get a picture of your machine’s energy requirements.

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