Monday, December 7, 2009

Buying a New Dishwasher – What’s Important?

With renovating a kitchen comes buying new kitchen appliances. The next few BLOG articles will outline what to look for and what’s just hype in the world of kitchen appliances.

When looking for a new dishwasher, there’s a number of new features available to you. You can pay up to $1,500 or more for a fancy dishwasher that has hidden controls, digital displays, and special grime-fighting cycles. But when it comes to clean dishes, you don’t have to pay such a high price. Here are some of the things to consider:

Energy Conservation

Dishwashers are using less water as manufacturers strive to meet tougher energy standards; however, it’s taking longer to get dishes clean. Don’t just look at the Energy Star label and automatically assume that you’re going save money. If the washing cycle time has been increased your just burning the energy in a different way.
Adjustable RacksRacks that move up or down, adjustable and removable tines, as well as silverware and stemware holders allow you to reconfigure the interior and organize the contents based on your needs at the time.
Dirt Sensor

The feature will adjust the water use and cycle length to the soil level. If the feature works properly it can improve efficiency, but not all systems work well.

Rinse/Hold Cycle

This feature allows you soak the dirty dishes before you’re ready to start a full cycle. This will reduce odours and prevent soil from setting while you collect enough dishes for a full load.


All dishwashers have filters – they’re used to keep wash water free of food that could re-deposit on your clean dishes. There are two types: self-cleaning and manual. Most filters are self-cleaning; a grinder pulverizes the debris and flushes it down the drain. That's convenient but noisy. Some pricey models have a filter without a grinder. It's quieter, but it needs periodic cleaning (usually every few weeks), a job that takes a few minutes. It's your choice.

Special Wash Cycles Most dishwashers come with at least three cycles: light, normal, and heavy (pots and pans). Some offer pot-scrubber, soak/scrub, steam clean, china/crystal, or sanitizing cycles as well. The three basic cycles should be enough for most chores--even for baked-on food. A sanitizing option that raises water temperature doesn't necessarily clean better.
Stainless-Steel Tub A steel tub is more durable than plastic, but models with a plastic tub tend to cost less. While light-coloured plastic might become discoloured, gray-speckled plastic should resist staining. Even a plastic tub should last longer than most people keep a dishwasher.
Hidden Touchpad Controls Controls mounted along the top edge of the door are strictly a styling touch. They're hidden when the door is closed. You can't see cycle progress at a glance. (Partially hidden controls are a good compromise. They show that the machine is running and often display remaining cycle time.)

Next week: Refrigerators

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