The Dish on Dishwashers

The Dish on Dishwashers



Dishwashers have long had a reputation as the most water and energy-inefficient appliance in the kitchen. But modern technology, coupled with more environmentally-aware design, has seen a huge leap in how dishwashers operate.

It is estimated that somewhere in the range of 30 per cent of Australian households contain a dishwasher and that they are used on average of four to seven times a week*.

All dishwashers sold in Australia are subject to compliance with the Australian Standards that monitor energy consumption. The Standard ensures that every dishwasher is labelled with the appropriate Energy Label to reflect the results of rigorous testing that measures efficiency in washing, drying, water consumption and water pressure.

The final star rating issued to each dishwasher represents the model’s performance over three critical areas: capacity, performance and base energy consumption.

Capacity measures the energy use over the number of place settings, as specified by the manufacturer. The performance score reflects the appliance’s performance across the criteria defined in the Australian Standard. Base Energy Consumption defines the number of stars finally awarded to each model.
Dishwashers are available as underbench or freestanding models and come in a range of finishes including black, white and stainless-steel, as well as integrated options. Fisher & Paykel’s DishDrawer dishwasher is currently the only model in the market to separate into two sections that can be operated entirely independently and are available as single units.

The first dishwashers were hand powered as with the unit invented by Joel Houghton for which he was granted a patent in 1850. The 1893 World’s Fair saw the unveiling of an invention by American Joesphine Cochrane that was to become the ancestor of the modern dishwasher. This device was still hand powered but it sparked such interest, particularly from commercial sources, that she was inspired to take her invention further.

The 1920s saw the first model able to be permanently plumbed and by 1940, inventors had added drying elements. In the 1950s, dishwashers became more popular as prices fell and the technology improved.

How to buy an efficient dishwasher-
Look for plenty of energy stars
Look for a range of options including economy wash
Look for a good Water Conservation Rating
Buy a size that fits your family’s needs

How to save water and energy-
Only run the dishwasher when it’s full
Clean and maintain the dishwasher regularly
Load and use according to manufacturer’s instructions
Use economy wash options when possible
Only rinse dishes when necessary

For more information:
Water Services Association:
Energy Ratings:
Standards Australia:
Department of the Environment and Heritage:
Australian Conservation Foundation:
Energy Smart: