Loading up the dishwasher is a much easier way to clean kitchen items than filling up the sink, but it can seem more costly when water and energy prices are considered. For people looking to save money on their household bills, Express.co.uk have calculated the average running costs of washing dishes – and exactly when it’s best to ditch the taps for electrical appliances.
While energy prices will continue to be protected by Energy Price Guarantee until June 2023, households across the UK are still being stifled by inflated utility costs.
According to GOV.UK, increases in both gas and electricity prices in April 2022 were the largest ever recorded on a series going back to 1988.
So in a bid to reduce their energy bills, many people have considered the simple swaps that can be made around the house.
Ditching the sink for an efficient appliance is the obvious way to save water, but it may not always work out cheaper.
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Is it cheaper to use a dishwasher or sink to wash up?
As with most modern appliances, dishwashers have different settings which use varying amounts of water and electricity. But it’s not just the cost of each cycle that can affect the size of utility bills.
Personal habits also impact how cost effective a cycle is, like whether a full load is done and how well maintained the appliance is.
According to an expert at In The Wash, the average model uses 0.91 kWh of electricity to clean a typical load of around 13 place settings.
So at the current average electricity rate of 34p, each load will cost 31p. Running a dishwasher once a day amounts to around £2.17 each week in electricity.
When it comes to water use, the expense is also minimal. The average dishwasher with 13 place settings uses 10.68 litres of water per cycle.
In the UK, the cost per litre is 0.3p, so one cycle would cost roughly 3p in water costs. This amounts to just 21p per week.
While the most energy efficient appliances cost less to run, it is worth noting that the upfront cost of buying one is typically much higher.
Of course, using an eco setting is also less expensive, despite taking much longer. This is because the cycle uses less water and heats it more slowly to save money.
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When it comes to hand washing, it is generally cheaper for instances when there is less than a full load of dirty dishes than you would need to fill a dishwasher.
According to an expert at CompareTheMarket, a single cycle costs the same in energy and water as turning the hot water tap on for six to nine minutes, or filling up four to six washing-up bowls.
While this average depends on whether the household has a metered or unmetered water supply, the general rule is that appliances are cheaper if you fill it up and use an eco setting.
So when it comes to water and energy consumption, used efficiently, a modern dishwasher will have less of a carbon footprint than washing by hand.
For some households, using the dishwasher at certain times of the day can also save money.
This applied to people on a “time of use” energy tariff – specifically Economy seven or Economy 10, which lowers usage costs during off-peak hours. Timings will vary, so billpayers should check their tariff to see when exactly these are.
However, it is important to note the dangers of leaving appliances running when nobody is home or everyone is asleep.
When left unattended, dishwashers – along with washing machines and tumble dryers, are a fire risk because of their high wattage, friction and motors.