Is it cheaper to hand wash or use a dishwasher?

Mrs Hinch and her husband get into a debate over the dishwasher

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Household appliances can have a significant impact on your energy usage which is why they should be the first place to look when finding ways to cut costs. Dishwashers are one of the most common kitchen features, and are often viewed as a cheaper way to wash dishes – but is it really true? How much does it actually cost to wash up yourself?

The energy price cap rise allows energy companies to charge up to 54 more to their customers for energy than before April.

Some households will pay almost £700 more per year for gas and electricity, forcing millions of Britons to make changes – both big and small – to foot the bill.

While washing up may seem like a minor detail when it comes to energy usage, making just one simple change to the way you clean the dishes could have a significant impact on your annual expenses.

Ditching the soap and sponge for an efficient appliance is the obvious way to save water, but how does it fare in terms of your energy bill?

Is it cheaper to use a dishwasher or sink to wash up?

When it comes to water and energy use, the cost of using an appliance over running water really depends on your habits.

Generally, if you only use your dishwasher once it’s fully loaded, it should save you money in the long run, but how much?

The upfront cost of a dishwasher will cost you anywhere from £170 to upwards of £1,000, but the running costs will set you back just a fraction of the purchase price.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average running cost of a dishwasher is as little as £37 and £48 per year.

The most energy-efficient models will cost you around £7 less per year than a lower-rated dishwasher, while a slimline design comes out as the cheapest – costing just £23 each year on average.

Marc Robson, smart energy expert at British Gas also agrees dishwashers work out even cheaper over time – especially when used in the eco setting.

He said: “The eco setting heats water more slowly, using less energy.

“You get the same results; it just takes a little longer.”

Mr Robson added: “’You can also save by turning the dishwasher completely off when not in use – if a light is on then a small amount of energy is being used.”

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Why are dishwashers cheaper than hand washing?

The electricity used by a dishwasher is usually needed only on the control electronics and the pump, though some older models require access to your household hot water supply.

If you buy a modern dishwasher, it won’t use any of your home’s hot water supply as it will simply use cold water and heat it internally to around 54 – 62C.

For this reason, modern appliances are far more low-cost and energy-efficient – and they’ll also give your plates a proper clean.

As well as saving on energy, most dishwashers will also slash your water usage too.

The Energy Saving Trust claims that hand washing dishes makes up four percent of the average household’s water use – whereas using a dishwasher uses three percent less, accounting for just one percent of the overall water bill.

In fact, it is estimated that washing up under running water uses nine times more water than a dishwasher – a figure that is bad for both your water bill and the environment.

While dishwashers will certainly cut back both your electricity and water bill, it is crucial to invest in a modern machine in order to reap the cost-cutting benefits.

Older appliances, manufactured before 2000 use around 25 litres of water per cycle, while a more modern one would use just 10 litres per cycle on an eco setting.

It’s a big difference which has been managed by the newer machines reusing the water, rather than constantly piping in fresh water while cleaning your dishes.

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