Washing machines and dishwashers

Washing machines and dishwashers are great labour-saving devices, and now are so efficient that they can actually use less energy than washing or dishwashing by hand. To see how much more efficient they have become and what you could save by switching to a new machine visit our online calculator. However, this is not the full story. The calculator is based upon the appliances washing at the same temperature. Whereas new technology means that you can save even more by cutting the temperature of your wash.

Most of the electrical energy in both types of appliance is used in heating the water, so the lower the temperature of the water when you use it, the more energy and money that you save.

The energy taken to warm water to 30°C from cold (10°C) is half as much as the energy required to heat it to 50°C, so it makes a lot of sense to buy a washing machine that can wash at 30%deg;C.

Dishwasher manufacturers tend to suggest higher temperatures (50-55°C), although some have Quick Wash cycles that run at 40°C. Here again there are significant savings to be made if you buy a newer model that allows you to wash cooler.

Almost all UK washing machines are ‘cold-fill’ – taking water from the mains rather than pre-heated from a hot water cylinder for example.

‘Warm-fill’ machines have historically been used in the US and some other markets. These use pre-heated water and tend to be relatively inefficient top-loading machines, which require far more water. These are now being phased out in favour of the more efficient front-loaders. Some warm fill machines are available in European markets but these are a very small minority.