Why Buy a Dishwasher?
No one likes washing up after a meal, a dishwasher takes most of the effort out of it but there are other benefits too.
Dishwashers can run at up to 70C, much hotter than is comfortable when washing up by hand, this kills bacteria more effectively and the drying cycle is far more hygenic then rubbing it with a grubby tea towel. Keeping dirty dishes in the dishwasher prior to cleaning keeps them out of the way, no more dirty water going stagnant in the sink with bits of carrot floating around.
Washing up by hand can use up to 50 litres of water. Depending on the size and model, dishwashers can get the job done with between 6 and 15 litres. If you’re on a water metre you’ll save money and either way you’ll help the environment. Energy costs can be reduced too, modern dishwashers are very energy efficient and can work out cheaper than washing up by hand if you run them with a full load. Of course you can save more money by buying a dishwasher on sale.
Dishwashers come in 3 main sizes, full size, slimline and compact. Most dishwashers quote a number of place settings, a “place setting” is a main plate, side plate, dessert plate, glass and cutlery. You’ll have pots and pan from cooking too, and you may not run the dishwasher after every meal so it’s probably best to get as big as you can fit in the space you have.
Full size dishwashers - Usually about 60cm wide and designed to go under the worktop in your kitchen. Most full size dishwashers will hold 12 - 15 place settings.
Slimline dishwashers - Usually about 45cm wide, most slimline dishwashers will hold 9 -10 place settings.
Compact/Countertop Dishwashers - Designed to sit on top of the worktop when floor space is at a premium, usually hold 4- 6 place settings.
Plumbing in a Dishwasher
Dishwashers all need plumbing in, they need water and drainage. Most modern dishwashers only need a cold water supply so you don't need to worry about running hot water pipes anymore but do check before you buy. With modern speedfit pipes adding a water supply isn’t usually an issue but waste water pipes can be harder to do as they are bigger and need to run slightly down hill. You can make your life a lot easier by fitting your dishwasher next to your kitchen sink. Your sink already has cold water and drainage and kits are available to let you connect to a sink’s plumbing with a minimum of tools and equipment. Plumbing in a dishwasher isn’t rocket science but if you’re not 100% confident then get a plumber to do it for you.
Other Features to Look For
Adjustable racks - Can be raised up or lowered to let you fit larger items on the bottom rack.
Programmed start times - let you set the dishwasher to start at a time to suit you. Useful if you have a cheap off peak electricity tariff.
Child locks - stop little helpers from messing with the settings
Wash sensors - adjust the temperature and cycle time depending on how big the load is and how dirty it is.
Steam - Some newer models use steam jets to shift baked on food, ideal if you’ve made a lasagne.
Noise - Most dishwashers have a noise rating, if it’s going in a utility room that you can shut off from the rest of the house then noise isn’t an issue but if you have an open plan living area and you don’t want the dishwasher noise ruining your after dinner TV viewing then check the noise rating. The label will quote a number of Decibels dB, low is quiet.