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Types of Dishwashers

Built-In Dishwashers:
Built-in dishwashers are installed underneath a kitchen counter, usually next to a sink. They require permanent installation to a water supply, a power supply, and a drain.

Portable Dishwashers:
Portable dishwashers are ideal if you want to minimize electricity and water costs, or if you have space limitations. These dishwashers are generally similar in design to full size dishwashers. However, they roll on caster wheels and connect to a water and drain source (often the sink water faucet and drain) only when needed. They usually have a smaller capacity than full size diswashers.

Countertop Dishwashers:
These are relatively new, but are increasing in popularity. They are a great solution for apartments or households that do not have room for a traditional unit. You can sit these units on a counter and run them from your kitchen sink. Keep in mind, these units were not made to do large loads of extremely dirty dishes. Most of them are about the size of a large microwave.


Soil Sensors: Dishwashers use sensor technology to monitor soil content and adjust the water level and wash length accordingly.

Delay Start: This timer allows you to start the dishwasher automatically.

Heavy Duty Food Disposer: Filters and disposes of food in order to keep your dishwasher clean.

Spray Arms: Spray arms distribute water during washing and rinsing. Most dishwashers offer a spray arm on the bottom and top of the unit. Other models offer a third arm or a central spray tower. Some high-end washers offer up to six outlets on the tower for maximum cleaning.

Water Heat Booster: The extra heat provided by this feature improves dishwasher performance. Depending on the dishwasher, this feature will increase incoming hot water temperature by 20 to 50 degrees.

Air Dry Option: This option allows the dishes to air dry after the washing cycles are finished, providing a significant energy savings over heated drying.


Dishwasher controls either consist of mechanical dials and buttons or electronic digital keypads. High-end dishwashers often include controls that are hidden from view and cannot be accessed unless the dishwasher door is open. Most dishwashers are built to minimize sound with door insulation and vibration dampeners. Selecting a dishwasher with these features will allow for a more quiet environment!

Energy Savings

Certain features can help to keep energy costs down:

Low water requirements - Water requirements can vary from 10-20 gallons per load.

Low wattage fans - Some dishwashers have fans that are used to dry dishes which allows for less energy use.

Short cycle selections - Shorter cycles use less hot water and can be used for dishes that are lightly soiled. Short cycles have the potential to help you save up to 25% of your water heating costs.

Save on features:

ENERGY STAR labeled dishwashers save by using both improved technology for the primary wash cycle, and by using less hot water to clean. Construction includes more effective washing action, energy efficient motors and other advanced technology such as sensors that determine the length of the wash cycle and the temperature of the water necessary to clean the dishes.

Save on hot water:

Significant savings can be realized by minimizing the amount of hot water needed. The water temperature in a dishwasher should be at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit to clean your dishes. The ENERGY STAR qualified models with internal water heaters boost the water temperature inside the dishwasher. This allows you to turn down the thermostat on your household water heater to 120 degrees, reducing your water heating costs by up to 10%.

Save on drying:

Using your dishwasher's heater to dry dishes consumes a significant amount of energy. Federal law requires that all new dishwashers have a no-heat drying option. This is often called the "energy saver" feature. This takes a little longer, but dries the dishes as well as the heated drying operation.

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