July 25, 2014

Dishwasher Power Wars-Plus a Little Advice

Here’s a fun story straight from the Wall Street Journal:

Marriage counselors say one of the biggest issues that couples fight over is money. But many of us know what’s really the most contentious battleground in the home: the dishwasher.

Except for the family dog, perhaps nothing in the house is louder or wetter, breaks more things, or causes more fights than the dishwasher. It’s just an appliance, but in many families the dishwasher becomes a stainless-steel-and-ceramic metaphor for marital power. Who loads it, how it gets loaded, how often should it be run, and when did it last get emptied – all these questions are like a fuse on a pack of TNT. One spark and there’s a conflagration.

I, of course, know that my method of loading the machine is best: Don’t rinse first, which wastes precious water and time. And silverware goes in tines and blades DOWN, thank you, so you don’t skewer yourself unloading later.

But others disagree. Tines UP, please, and always prewash.

A straw poll around the office reveals that many couples staunchly stick to the method they learned growing up. That means visiting family members who want to “help” in the kitchen can compound the problem. Woe to the well-meaning in-law who puts pot lids on the top instead of the bottom. Or worse, moves things around. Marriages have broken up over less.

One colleague says he always runs the machine immediately once it’s loaded, so no one goes in to rearrange. Another says he divides people into two categories: loaders and emptiers. He’s an emptier.

Dishwasher manufacturer Whirlpool offers some advice on its Web site: “It is not necessary to rinse the dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. The wash module removes food particles from the water.” And for silverware: “Mix items in each section of the basket with some pointing up and some down to avoid nesting. … Always load sharp items (knives, skewers, etc.) pointing down.”

But that’s not likely to end the dishwasher wars. Apologies to those of you who wash by hand (maybe you’re happier people!) but readers, do you find you fight over the dishwasher? And if so, how do you reach détente?

Dishwashers Save Time and Water

It’s official, running a fully loaded dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. If you use an Energy Star rated dishwasher you will save even more. An replacing an older dishwasher with a newer Energy Star rated dishwasher can save you about $30 dollars a year in energy costs too.
According to Frigidairee appliances:
If you still wash your dishes by hand, you’re probably wasting more than just your valuable time. Over an average eleven-year lifespan, Energy Star qualified dishwashers can save 55,000 gallons of water (that’s a lifetime supply of drinking water for more than four people) or $465 in energy and water bills (that’s like getting a 15-year supply of dishwasher detergent).

Here are some additional savings that come with upgrading to an Energy Star dishwasher:

Save Time:
Using an Energy Star qualified dishwasher instead of handwashing will save nearly 10 days of your time each year. So stop scrubbing – just load and go!
Dishwashers today don’t require pre-rinsing of dishes before loading. Pre-rinsing doesn’t necessarily improve cleaning and wastes water. Just scrape off food and liquids – the dishwasher will do the rest.

Save Money:
Cut your energy and water bills by more than $40 per year compared to handwashing.
You can save $465 in energy and water bills over the life of an Energy Star dishwasher compared to washing dishes by hand.

Save Energy:
Use half as much energy as washing by hand.
Fill your dishwasher to full capacity to get maximize the energy used to run it. Most of the energy used by a dishwasher goes to heat water. Since you can’t decrease the amount of water used per cycle, fill your dishwasher to get the most from the energy used to run it.

Save Water:

Use nearly 5,000 gallons less water per year, compared to washing dishes by hand.
Run your dishwasher only on the cycle necessary for the task to conserve water

Reduce Noise:

Energy Star qualified dishwashers run 50% more quietly than 10-year old models.

Help the Environment:
Less energy means less pollution and greenhouse gases in the environment. Less water consumption helps protect our lakes, streams and oceans.
Stay away from the heat-dry, rinse-hold and pre-rinse features and try the air-dry option instead.

You can read more here about choosing a Frigidaire dishwasher.

Assistive Kitchen Robot Takes Stanford’s Dishes to the Wash

BoingBoing Gadgets reports:

The “Assistive Kitchen” robot picks up the dishes and takes them to the wash, thanks in large part to RFID sensors built into the plates and utensils in Stanford’s test kitchen. The team building the robot is also trying to teach it to surf the web to pick up new tricks, as well as self-optimize its routines to minimize the amount of running around it would have to do to pick up the dishes. (Pick up all the plates missing from the cabinet before returning to the dishwasher, for instance.)

Robot B21 today — Rosie tomorrow.

Robot chef gets a boost from wireless kitchen [New Scientist] (Thanks, Zoe!)

Hal 2000 as a dishwasher

KitchenAid Introduces its Quietest Dishwasher Yet

KitchenAid is now offering its quietest dishwasher ever. Featuring the new EQ™ Wash System and Whisper Quiet Ultima Sound Insulation System, this latest KitchenAid undercounter dishwasher is exceptionally quiet with a sound rating of only 48 dBA, or decibels, a level close to that of a quiet room (40 decibels) and well below a moderate rainfall (60 decibels).

The EQ™ Wash System provides optimal cleaning performance and noise reduction while also saving water and energy. The system features a true variable speed motor that helps to minimize operating noises by starting slowly and adjusting its operating capacity to deliver the power needed based on the wash cycle. Alternating wash zones focus the washing action while using less water and energy for high performance cleaning. A three-stage filtration system captures food particles as the water circulates within the dishwasher to maximize efficiency of its pump. For enhanced drying performance, the interior of the dishwasher is heated by a dedicated drying element.

“In addition to being our quietest, our latest dishwasher is 58% more efficient than

Energy Star standards,” notes Debbie O’Connor, Senior Manager of Brand Experience for KitchenAid. “Beyond being Energy Star qualified, it also has an efficiency designation from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), making it eligible for energy rebates in select states.”

Additional features include a welded tall tub with a stainless steel interior, a premium feature found throughout the entire KitchenAid dishwasher line. Other innovations include a ProScrub® Option that provides concentrated cleaning during the normal wash cycle for harder to clean items like casserole dishes with baked on food. An Optimum Wash Sensor adjusts the wash cycle to specific water conditions for maximum cleaning efficiency.

A culinary tool rack, an adjustable and removable upper rack, fold-down cup shelves, an extra-large silverware basket with three lids and a Sure-Hold® Small items pouch offer great versatility in accommodating a variety of dishwasher loads.

Available in stainless steel, white, black or a panel-ready model for a custom panel, the new dishwasher model will carry suggested retail prices of $1,449 for the stainless steel model,
$1,299 for the black or white models and $1,399 for the panel ready model.

How to Save Money Buying a New Appliance

Buying a new appliance is expensive and everyone wants to get a good value for their money.  Sometimes getting less can be more.  According to Consumer Reports, some of the extra features offered on new washers and dishwashers are not needed and just add unnecessarily to the final cost.

Take new dishwasher cycles with names like “turbo zone” and “power scour.” For those, special nozzles are placed in the back of the dishwasher to take care of tough jobs.

Although those cycles do a good job, Consumer Reports testers say they are not essential.

“We find many dishwashers, using just the regular setting, do a great job cleaning our very tough challenge: baked-on brownie mix,” Consumer Reports tester Kim Kleman said.

You can also save by skipping the often-pricier stainless steel tubs and get a plastic tub in your dishwasher.

“People love the stainless steel look, but how many people are looking inside your dishwasher?” Kleman said. “The plastic tub should hold up just fine.”

Many washing-machine models come loaded with lots of extra features – such as cycles made specifically for bedding, active wear and sanitizing. Consumer Reports, though, says you should take a pass on those options.

“Stick with the regular heavy-duty, normal, delicate and white cycles. That’s all you really need,” Kleman said.

As for dryers, don’t be wowed by claims like extra-large capacity, super capacity and king-sized capacity.

“We find most dryers hold plenty, whether it says super capacity or not,” Kleman said.

Although matching washer-dryer sets look nice, they can cost more.

If you’re buying them at the same time, Consumer Reports recommends getting the best-performing, most efficient washer – one that extracts the most water from clothes.

Among dryers, get the one that has a moisture sensor.

Consumer Reports ranked its Best Buys among dishwashers, washers and dryers:

  • Dishwasher: Sears’ Kenmore 1374 for $650.
  • Washer: Frigidaire Gallery GLTF2940F for $650.
  • Dryers: GE DBVH512EF[WW] for $650; GE DPSE810EG[WT] for $500.

Keep to this strategy: Don’t pay for features you don’t need.

Fisher & Paykel is Moving to Mexico

Fisher & Paykel, the New Zealand appliance manufacturer well known for it’s dishwasher drawers and washing machines is consolidating it’s manufacturing and moving to Reynosa, Mexico, just south of the U.S. border.

The range and DishDrawer factory in Dunedin, New Zealand, the refrigeration plant in Brisbane, Australia and the DCS manufacturing plant in Huntington Beach will be relocated to the new facility in the next 12-18 months. The DCS move is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and individual manufacturing lines will be shifted separately to reduce the impact on warehouse inventory. The U.S. operation will continue to employ sales and marketing, customer services, head office and an engineering staff of around 340 employees. The financial benefit of the DCS move is expected to be $6.6 million per year with a one off cost of $7 million, both at pre-tax level.

“This expansion is designed to streamline our manufacturing costs, and bring increased consistency and efficiency to the company’s production process in the U.S. market, “ said Mike Goadby, North American President for Fisher & Paykel Appliances. “It’s an emotional time for all of us, but this move will make us more competitive in the U.S. and strengthen our distribution efforts through making them more efficient.”

With the Reynosa acquisition and the new North American DishDrawer line announced last year, the financial benefits of the new strategy are expected to be around $50 million per year, at a one off cost of approximately $100 million. The cost of the move will be offset by the sale of surplus property in Australia and New Zealand, which could total approximately $100 million.

You can read more here.

Whirlpool Earns Third Energy Star Award

Whirlpool Corp. has been recognized with its third consecutive ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence award. Provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the award honors Whirlpool Corp.’s contribution to providing innovative efficient products that help consumers reduce utility bills and greenhouse gas emissions.

Whirlpool will accept the award at ceremonies in Washington, D.C., on April 1, 2008. This is the company’s ninth ENERGY STAR award win.

“Whirlpool Corporation is proud to again receive the ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence award,” said Mike Todman, president, Whirlpool North America. “At Whirlpool, we believe that focusing on energy, water and the environment isn’t about narrowing the field of choices, it’s about broadening horizons. We continually strive for efficiency improvements while always keeping in mind that exceeding the expectations of the consumer is our goal.”

The company has been a long-term ENERGY STAR partner, helping create the guidelines for the Green Lights Program, the EPA’s precursor to the appliance ENERGY STAR program. “We are proud to recognize Whirlpool Corporation’s continued efforts with the 2008 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence award,” said Robert J. Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air & Radiation. “Year after year partners like Whirlpool are examples of the benefits of a long-term commitment to energy efficiency. Their actions are leading the way in saving energy and helping to protect the environment.”

While other appliance manufacturers have been talking about sustainability, Whirlpool Corporation has been taking action for more than 30 years. The company is the global industry leader in developing high-performance appliances that help conserve the earth’s resources and allow homeowners to use energy and water more efficiently. It is the only appliance manufacturer that brings an “across the board” focus to energy and water conservation, from design to manufacture and distribution, to the end of the product life-cycle.

Whirlpool Corporation offers consumers the largest breadth of ENERGY STAR qualified appliances. Its more than 700 innovative models include:
The Whirlpool(R) Duet(R) Steam Washer. The washer naturally steams away tough stains, from grass to grease, without pre-treating. This model also saves consumers 73 percent water and 77 percent energy, compared to top-load washers manufactured before 2004, and using the normal cycle.
The Whirlpool(R) Cabrio(R) Steam Dryer combines mist and heat in the dryer to naturally steam away wrinkles and odors, reducing trips to the dry cleaner and providing front-load laundry efficiency in a top-load configuration.
Energy efficient refrigeration combined with flexible technology options through the Whirlpool(R) centralpark(TM) connection. The refrigerator offers a plug-and-play platform right on the door, providing support to consumer electronics including a digital picture frame and digital music player without compromising on energy efficiency.
The Maytag(R) Bravos(TM) high-efficiency, large-capacity top-load washer. The Bravos system features an impeller wash system with Sensi-Care technology and a commercial-grade stainless-steel wash basket – providing the thorough, dependable clean of a front-load system in a top-load configuration.
The Maytag(R) EPICz(TM) high-efficiency front-load washer’s space-saving design, providing dependable performance features and commercial-grade components, is one of the most energy efficient in the industry. The washer received NSF International (formerly National Sanitation Foundation) certification for its sanitary cycle, which heats wash water up to 153-DegF.
The Maytag brand Dishwasher with a SteamClean option. SteamClean delivers enhanced cleaning performance on glassware for soil and spot removal.. Whirlpool Corporation was the first in the appliance industry to launch a steam option in dishwashers.
A new SteamClean option for Jenn-Air brand dishwashers. The SteamClean option enhances an existing wash cycle, such as the China/Crystal cycle, with improved soil and spot cleaning to produce an even more lustrous shine. In addition to steam, these models also have a new silent sound package, making an already quiet, energy efficient dishwasher even quieter.

Whirlpool works to exceed expectations with appliances that help building professionals create homes of distinction. For this purpose, the company developed – The Inside Advantage(TM). This targeted program offers Powerful Brands, Innovative Products, Targeted Services and Consumer Insight to support building professionals. By staying closely involved with the building industry, Whirlpool Corporation is able to help support sustainable construction that ultimately saves energy and natural resources while providing homebuyers with comfortable, efficient and healthy homes.

The Dishwasher of the Future – A Shape Shifter

Newscientist.com has found a great solution to that half-filled smelly dishwasher that you feel guilty running because it will waste water- The Shape Shifting Dishwasher -

A problem with conventional dishwashers is that to save water, energy and detergent, people wait until the machine is full before switching it on.

But if the dishwasher is in a single-person household, or one where people often eat out, it can take several days for the dishwasher to fill. This can lead to hygiene problems and offensive smells, and to food drying onto dishes, which is then harder to remove.

Now Paul Frigout from Coventry University has an answer in the form of a dishwasher with a movable partition. This changes the size of the washing compartment so it can accommodate small or large loads.

When the dishwasher is switched on, it washes only those dishes on one side of the partition. The other area could be used to store clean dishes, or can be used for an alternate cycle of washing while the first section is still drying.

The system is perfect for the person living alone, says Frigout.

Read the full shape-shifting dishwasher patent application