If you’re like many homeowners, you’ve always dreamed about having a warm, cozy fireplace in your home. Whether you want a fireplace as a supplemental heat source to cut down on expensive utility bills, or purely as an aesthetic addition to your family room, you’ve probably already considered the costs and hassles associated with having one installed. Or perhaps you’ve included one on your “must-have” list when shopping for a new home.
Traditional wood-burning fireplaces and newer gas-fueled fireplaces require an exhaust flue or vent to remove toxic smoke and fumes from the home. Not to mention, the cost of installing the necessary venting has crushed many homeowners’ dreams of ever having a fireplace in their home. Don’t give up on that dream just yet because there is an alternative: the ventless fireplace.
What Is a Ventless Fireplace?
Ventless, or vent-free fireplaces are a low-cost alternative to a traditional fireplace because they do not require flues or chimneys and can be installed in spaces that would not support a traditional fireplace. Ventless fireplaces are also more energy efficient than their vented counterparts because the heat is not being lost through the flue or chimney. These free-standing units can be powered by natural gas, propane, electricity or alcohol-based gels and some models do not even require professional installation.
Ventless fireplaces are designed to be a cost-effective alternative to traditional fireplaces in situations where it is not feasible to install flues or chimneys or for those homeowners who do not want to deal with the mess of ashes and smoke created by wood-burning fireplaces. Next, we will look at how a vent-free fireplace works.
How Does a Vent-free Fireplace Work?
As we said before, ventless fireplaces can be powered by natural gas, propane, electricity or alcohol-based gels. While a vented gas fireplace that is fueled by natural gas or propane requires two vents — one to remove the fumes created by the burning gas, and one to draw fresh air into the fireplace — a vent-free gas fireplace using natural gas or propane has a regulator that produces a mixture of gas and indoor air for combustion. It burns more cleanly. This reduces the production of toxic fumes, limits the levels of combustion gases released into the room, and allows for the elimination of costly venting.
How Much do Ventless Fireplaces Cost?
Ventless gas-fueled models do require professional installation and can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 to purchase and install. Electric fireplaces, on the other hand, do not require professional installation, simply plug in the unit and start enjoying the benefits. You may even be able to turn it on with a remote control. Gel-powered ventless fireplaces also do not require professional installation and are often the cheapest option, although you do have to purchase the canisters needed to operate the unit. Regardless of which model you choose, make sure to research which type of fireplace will work best for the space you intend it to occupy.
Are Ventless Fireplaces Safe?
Most of the ventless fireplaces you will find on the market include built-in carbon monoxide detectors that monitor the air quality of the room. They are designed to shut off the fireplace automatically if carbon monoxide levels become too high.
Because ventless fireplaces do not utilize fresh air intakes and instead burn the oxygen in the room, most models also have oxygen detection sensors that will shut off the fireplace should the oxygen levels in the room drop to unhealthy levels. Some models even include an automatic ignition feature and automatic thermostats to control the heat output as well. For the more tech-savvy homeowner, some newer models even include a remote control to adjust the settings on your ventless fireplace without leaving the comfort of your couch.
Do Ventless Fireplaces Look Nice?
If you’re looking for a heating solution for your home that is both cost-effective and aesthetically appealing, you are sure to find what you’re looking for with a ventless fireplace. Manufacturers offer a wide variety of high-quality, decorative options to fit any budget and decorating scheme. Whether you’re searching for a more classic wood-burning stove look for a country home, a traditional wood mantel fireplace for the family to enjoy on a blustery winter evening, or a sleek, modern look for your high-rise apartment, you’re sure to find a ventless fireplace that works for you.
Pros and Cons of Ventless Fireplaces
While there are many benefits to having a ventless fireplace, there are some safety concerns that you should consider before purchasing and installing one in your home. Some states, including California and Massachusetts, have banned the installation of ventless fireplaces and they are not allowed in any HUD housing. Make sure to check with your local building authority before you purchase a ventless fireplace.
According to the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), ventless fireplaces may still release carbon monoxide into your home, although these levels are greatly reduced when compared to traditional fireplaces. It is still a good idea to install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home in addition to any detectors pre-installed in your unit. Ventless fireplaces also produce water vapor as a byproduct of the combustion process and if not properly ventilated, can lead to increased mold growth.
Pros of Ventless Fireplaces
Ventless fireplaces are more affordable than vented fireplaces because you won’t have to install a flue.
No messy soot, ashes or smoke to deal with.
Free-standing units can be placed in any room, adding extra heat wherever you need it most.
More energy efficient than vented fireplaces so you’ll save money on utility bills.
Ventless fireplaces produce flames that are nearly identical to vented fireplaces-enjoy the same ambience at half the cost.
Cons of Ventless Fireplaces
Some fumes will still be released into your home, albeit far less than a vented fireplace.
Some states and municipalities have banned the installation of these units. If you are found to have a fireplace that is against local codes, you may be required to remove the unit and could even face fines for failure to comply with building codes.
The water vapor created by the burning gas can cause your home to feel humid or muggy and could lead to increased mold growth.
Consider Everything to Make an Informed Ventless Fireplace Purchase
The decision to purchase and install a ventless fireplace is one you should consider carefully, weighing the pros and cons and ensuring you are in compliance with local building codes. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety tips. If you do your due diligence, you and your family can enjoy the benefits of a ventless fireplace for years to come.
Cooking or baking food in your oven is a wonderful convenience but, try as hard as you might to avoid it, food spills. Cakes bubble over, grease spills out, and your oven is left dirty, smelling, and sometimes smoking from leftover debris. A self-cleaning oven can be a real time saver as far as the floor, ceiling, and walls of your oven go, but what about the racks? Dirty ovens include dirty oven racks, so read on to learn everything you need to know about how to clean oven racks.
Products to Clean Oven Racks
There are a number of great products you can purchase for oven cleaning and even specifically for cleaning your oven racks. Most oven, grill and rack cleaners can emit harmful toxins so make sure that you can clean your oven racks outside, where there’s a lot of open space and ventilated air. Lay down newspapers or old rags so as not to harm your grass, and always use rubber gloves to protect your hands. Let the product sit for at least ten minutes and then scrub away. Using a soft sponge, old toothbrush, or clean rag will make the work easier without harming the chrome on the racks. Spray the racks off thoroughly with a garden hose and you’re good to go.
You don’t have to buy specialty products or work with potentially harmful chemicals and toxins when cleaning oven racks. If you want to learn how to clean oven racks easily, at home, with common household products, read on.
DIY Processes to Clean Oven Racks
1. Dryer Sheets and Dish Soap
Perhaps the simplest answer to how to clean oven racks is using dryer sheets, a half cup of dish soap, and a bathtub. Lay a handful of dryer sheets on the floor of your tub, making sure to cover the entire floor. Place your oven racks on top, then fill the bathtub with warm water until the racks are completely submerged, toss in half a cup of dish soap then walk away. Let the soap and dryer sheets work their magic overnight and drain the tub the next morning. Using this method, there’s no harmful chemicals or offensive smells, and you can use the dryer sheets to scrub off any remaining food particles or debris.
2. Vinegar and Baking Soda
If dryer sheets aren’t easily available to you and you’re still wondering how to clean oven racks, try the classic combination of vinegar and baking soda. The chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar that is such a hit at school science fairs is also a great way to clean your oven racks. Place your racks in an empty bathtub, cover in baking soda, then drown with vinegar. Let the bubbling die down before adding enough hot water to just cover the racks. Again, let this product work overnight, then drain the water and scrub clean with a sponge, towel, or old toothbrush. Rinse the racks off in the bathtub and return to your oven.
3. Ammonia and Trash Bags
If you’re looking for how to clean your oven racks with a little less scrubbing, the ammonia in the trash bag method is a good solution, though it does have other drawbacks. You’ll need ammonia, a few large trash bags, a garbage can, a garden hose, and protective hand and eye gear. Place one oven rack in each garbage bag, pour in half a quart of ammonia, then tie the trash bag tight. Place the whole thing in the trash can, outside, overnight. You can lay the bags flat so that the ammonia touches more of the rack, but you don’t need to. The fumes released from the ammonia overnight will penetrate every inch of the grimy oven rack. The next morning, wearing your protective gear and clothes you don’t mind ruining, remove the racks and spray down with a hose. You should see the grime come right off. Let them dry on a clean towel outside, then return them to the oven, ready for use.
4. Dishwasher Soap
Figuring out how to clean oven racks easily is sometimes as simple as a soak in the tub. First, lay an old towel down on your bathtub floor. This will prevent the oven racks from scratching the tub. Put your oven racks on top of the towels, then fill the tub with hot water until the racks are covered. Make sure the water is as hot as you can get it as the heat helps to break down the soap. Add a large scoop of powder laundry or dish detergent, or an equivalent amount of liquid detergent, and let the concoction work overnight. Drain the tub the next morning, scrub any remaining grease or grime off with a sponge or toothbrush, then rinse clean. Simple, easy, and much better smelling than the chemicals that come in the store-bought products.
Tips and Warnings when Cleaning Oven Racks
Self-cleaning ovens can harm your oven racks, so make sure to always remove them before starting a cycle.
If you are using ammonia or other chemicals, always protect your eyes and hands, and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area so you don’t breathe anything in.
Use a towel or four sponges on the corners of your racks when using any bathtub method so that you don’t scratch the tub.
Clean Your Oven Racks Regularly
Oven racks are often forgotten, but the grime and grease baked into them can affect the way your food cooks and tastes. Use these tips on how to clean oven racks easily and that casserole that bubbled over yesterday will be a thing of the past.
As annoying as it is to have frozen pipes, bursting a pipe or starting a fire (the effects of thawing gone wrong) are even worse. Before you pull out the blow torch and get to work on your pipes, check out how to thaw frozen pipes safely and efficiently. And to be clear, please do not use a blow torch.
How to Locate Frozen Pipes
At Risk Pipes
Outdoor pipes like sprinkler lines, hose bibs, pool lines, etc. are at risk. You might not notice if these pipes are frozen because you might not be using your hose, sprinklers, or pool during the winter. But, those pipes can still burst and cause damage.
Pipes in remote areas of your home (attic, basement, garage) are at risk because there’s less indoor heating directed toward these areas.
Pipes up against an outdoor wall are closer to the cold and have higher risk.
Finding the Pipe
Turn on the different water sources in your home. If any are running at just a trickle, there’s a chance that a pipe is frozen.
Frozen pipes often come in pairs or groups. If there’s one frozen pipe, odds are it isn’t the only one.
Depending on the location of the pipe, you might be able to see that it’s frozen. Besides ice on the outside of the pipe, a frozen pipe can also swell. Look for expanded pipes.
Turn on the hot and cold water for the faucet that uses the frozen pipe. This will lower the pressure in the pipe. Leave the faucet on while thawing the frozen pipe to keep the pipe’s pressure in a safe place.
Start the thawing process close to the faucet. If you start thawing in the middle of the pipe, the pressure might burst the pipe.
How to Thaw Pipes
Thaw Accessible Pipes
Here are some tried and true options for thawing when you can reach the pipe. Whichever heat source(s) you end up using, keep applying the heat until water again is flowing out the faucet at its usual speed and strength.
A blow dryer is typically the simplest option. It’s easy to direct the heat right where you want it. Remember to start close to the faucet and work your way toward the frozen area. Keep the blow dryer from falling into a puddle of water or anything else that could violate the blow dryer’s safety precautions.
Space heaters are another efficient way to thaw a pipe. Make sure to follow the device’s safety protocol, particularly keeping it away from water. Try to get the heater close enough to the frozen area to be effective, but not so close that it will get wet.
Heat lamps work similarly to the space heater. Again, it’s best to check on the device’s safety instructions.
Hot towels are a safe way to start. Put towels into hot water and drape them around the frozen pipe. This is a slower and more cautious technique.
Heat tape or heating cables are slightly fancier options. The heat tape sticks on the pipe to warm it up. Whereas, heating cables wrap around the pipe. Cables are also a great long-term solution for preventing your freezing pipes.
Thaw Hidden Pipes
Here are some tips for those out-of-reach pipes.
Turn the heat on. Turning your thermostat up a few notches can do the trick when the situation isn’t too dire.
If you know where a pipe is, but can’t reach it because of a wall, an infrared lamp can help. This isn’t the most full-proof plan for a few reasons. But, it’s worth a shot before moving on to more drastic measures.
For the brave homeowner, you could cut out a section of your wall. This would allow you to use the techniques mentioned earlier. But, calling a plumber might be the wiser decision at this point.
When It Goes Wrong
Here’s what to do if your pipe bursts or you can’t reach your pipe.
If you find yourself with a burst pipe, act quickly. Start by turning off the main water line. The main line is typically found by your home’s water meter.
Contact a professional plumber if a pipe bursts, if the pipe isn’t accessible, or if you just feel safer in trained hands.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
It’s much simpler to learn how to prevent freezing pipes than it is to learn how to unfreeze pipes. Plus, homeowner’s insurance differs on the cost of damage caused by frozen pipes. Typically, there isn’t any damage until the pipe actually bursts. Insurance may cover the water damage from a burst pipe, but only if sufficient preventive measures were taken by the owner. Here are 10 ways to prevent frozen pipes.
Keep the heat on in your home to keep pipes’ temperatures regulated. You should leave the heat on to at least 55° F if you’re leaving on winter vacation.
Allow the heated air to circulate closer to pipes by leaving doors to rooms, closets, and hallways open. You can also open the cabinets beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks.
Keep your garage door closed.
Keep your faucets dripping. You only need to do this in extremely low temperatures. The slight movement of the water helps keep the pressure low and the water from freezing.
Take care of holes and cracks in your home to keep the temperatures from dropping.
Add insulation to the remote areas of your home (attic, basement, garage).
Shut off your hose bib and turn on the hose faucet to release water still inside the pipes. Leave the faucet turned to open to keep pressure from building.
Drain your pool and sprinkler lines.
In general, try to avoid antifreeze unless a professional directs you to use it. It isn’t ideal for the environment, and can hurt your property and pets.
As mentioned earlier, heating cables can be purchased and wound around a pipe to prevent the pipe’s temperature from dropping too low.
Keeping your house clean can seem like fighting an endless battle. Laundry is never finished, dishes pile up, and no matter how often you sweep, there always seems to be dust or dirt gathering somewhere. In fact, keeping your floors clean is often the hardest chore of all. Thanks to gravity and frequent usage, floors seem to get the brunt of spills, dirt, and mud. Carpets can be vacuumed and stains cleaned, but what about your hardwood floors? How can you clean them, keep them clean, and protect them from damage? We’ve collected data from around the web to compile a list of the best hardwood floor cleaners. Whether you’re working with mops or brooms, spray or steam, hardwood or laminate flooring, you’ll be able to clean your floors with confidence using one of these products.
What Are the Best Hardwood Floor Cleaners?
There are a lot of wood floor cleaners on the market. It can be overwhelming to try and choose the one that’s best for your home. We’ve narrowed it down for you and present you with our list of the best hardwood floor cleaners to give you an idea of what to buy next time your floors need a spruce.
1. Bona Hardwood Floor CleanerSpray
This water-based spray is popular for a reason— it works! But aside from cleaning your hardwood and laminate floors, it’s a simple spray-and-mop process, no rinsing necessary. Users love the ease of this product as well as the results. It’s perfectly safe for use in homes with pets and children, no matter how much time they spend on the floor. The company has over 100 years of experience in the wood floor refinishing business and that experience shows in their product.
2. Pledge FloorCare Wood Squirt & Mop
Pledge is a household name and the nostalgic smell alone may be enough to sell some customers on this product. In addition to the familiar lemon scent, Pledge FloorCare Wood & Squirt is routinely cited as the best hardwood floor cleaner for larger areas and fast cleans. Instead of a diluted spray or mop and bucket, you squirt the solution straight onto the floor and mop up the grime. It also doubles as an easy and safe cleaner for wood furniture or paneling.
3. Bruce Hardwood and Laminate Floor Cleaner
Like the two wood floor cleaners above, Bruce’s cleaner doesn’t require mop water. Just spray directly onto the floor and mop it up. Customers love not only the ease with which the product gets up smudges, scuffs, and grime, but the shine it leaves afterwards. It is safe to use on hardwood and laminate floors, but avoid it for wax-sealed flooring as it may eat away at the wax. Customers also liked the price tag, citing it as the best bargain hardwood floor cleaner.
4. Swiffer Wet Jet Mop
Customers agree that the best part about the Swiffer Wet Jet Mop is the sanitation. With the removable and disposable pads, you don’t have to clean and store a traditional mop that is sure to harbor all sorts of gross things. The electric dispenser sprays the solution for you, making it very easy to work with. The Swiffer Wet Jet solution is a solid option for a hardwood floor cleaner as well, as it is not streaky and doesn’t take too many passes with the mop to get scuffs and dirt off the floor. You can DIY your own microfiber pads that are reusable and machine washable, and you can even use other hardwood floor cleaners with the mop for specific needs, like the next product on our list.
5. Zep Commercial Hardwood and Laminate
The word “commercial” may scare off the casual consumer, but it doesn’t need to. All it means is that this product is heavy duty and ready to tackle anything your hardwood or laminate flooring, cabinets, or crown molding can throw at it. It’s a simple spray and mop as well, but a bit tougher than some other products so it’s not recommended for oil-finish or wax-finish floors.
6. Method Hardwood Floor Cleaner
If you’re worried about your environmental footprint as well as your dirty one, then the all natural, plant-based, biodegradable hardwood floor cleaner from Method is for you. The bottle is even made from completely recycled material. Customers like it for the environmental impact, or lack thereof, and the leftover residue, or lack thereof. The almond scent adds a nice touch to your natural and safe wood floor cleaner.
7. Murphy Oil Soap Liquid Wood Cleaner
This last recommendation is for more than just your hardwood floors. This is routinely ranked by customers as the best all-purpose cleaner. Not only is it a hardwood floor cleaner, it’s a laminate floor cleaner, a tile cleaner, a linoleum cleaner, and a furniture cleaner all wrapped up in one. It’s not our top recommendation for wood floor cleaners because some users said there could be a slight oily residue left after, but if you’re looking to save space and money by getting a product that can do more, this is your best option.
Caring for Your Hardwood Floors Can Be Simple
Hardwood floors, whether real wood or laminate, can bring a timeless and classic look to your home. Keeping them clean can bring anxiety and annoyance. Hopefully this list of recommended wood floor cleaners will give you an idea on where to start when it comes to cleaning and caring for your home’s beautiful hardwood floors.
Before learning how to replace a toilet, make sure that the new toilet you buy is the right size. Measuring your old toilet is a good place to start.
Buy the Right Size Toilet
Start with the rough in measurement. This is the distance from the wall (not the molding) to the closet bolts. Typical rough in measurements are 10, 12, or 14 inches. 12 inches is the most common.
If there are doors or other elements of your bathroom that you don’t want to collide with the toilet or with the person using the toilet, measure how large the toilet bowl should be. When purchasing a new toilet, you’ll notice that elongated bowls are known for their comfort. But, make sure to check that your bathroom fits an elongated bowl.
Use your measurements to find the right toilet.
Gather the Right Tools and Supplies
Brass bolts. Check that they’re really brass because some bolts only look the part.
Stainless steel screws
Extra nuts and washers
Stainless steel repair ring
Adjustable wrench or channellock pliers
How to Remove an Old Toilet
Before learning how to install a toilet, you’ll first need to learn how to remove the old toilet. If you don’t have a toilet to remove, skip down to the section about installing a toilet.
1. Get Rid of the Water in the Tank Immediately
Turn off water supply to the toilet.
Flush the toilet to get water out of the tank and bowl.
Remove the water that wouldn’t flush out. Do this for water in the bowl and the tank. A towel or sponge can do the trick pretty well. You can also use a water solidifier for the water in the bowl.
2. Disconnect the Tank from the Bowl
Disconnect the water supply line from the tank. An adjustable wrench or channellock pliers can be effective here.
Remove the nuts from the screws that are connecting the tank to the base.
Be cautious when removing the nuts. If they’re stuck tight, you could break the tank by putting too much pressure on them. Try applying penetrating oil to loosen them up. You might also use a large screwdriver to hold the bolt from the inside of the tank while loosening the nuts.
Pick up the tank and remove it. The tank can be heavy, and in some cases it might crack. You might want another set of hands and a pair of gloves for each of you.
3. Remove the Bowl From the Floor
If you haven’t already, remove any remaining water from the bowl.
Take off the closet bolt coverings.
Use an adjustable wrench to unscrew the nuts of the closet bolts.
Occasionally, the nuts and bolts connecting the bowl to the floor decide not to budge. To avoid straining the bolts too much and cracking the toilet, use a hacksaw blade to cut the bolts.
Once you’ve tackled the bolts, loosen the bowl by rocking it. This will break the wax seal with the floor and closet flange.
Pull the bowl off the ground. It’s going to need to get a few inches off the ground in order to clear the bolts.
This process might leak some water. Be prepared with towels.
4. Remove the Old Wax Ring
You’ll now see the closet flange in your floor. Take a paper towel and stuff it into the open space (don’t forget to take this out right before installing the new toilet). Now nuts and bolts won’t disappear down the hole.
The flange is the star player in the toilet game. If it isn’t tight, the toilet will rock. The more the toilet can move, the more the wax ring will warp. This usually ends in leaks. To avoid that, remove all traces of the old wax ring (try using a putty knife). Then, check on the condition of the closet flange.
If you find an imperfect plastic flange, buy a stainless steel repair ring. This can be installed right over the plastic flange. Be aware that it will add some height to the flange. It’s best to check that the toilet will still fit over the plastic flange, the repair ring, and the wax ring before installing everything.
How to Install a Toilet
This is the hardest part of replacing a toilet. It involves setting the wax ring. Once the ring is in place, it can’t be removed and reused. Here are some tips to placing the bowl in the right place the first time.
1. Install New Bowl
If the old closet bolts aren’t in good shape, replace them. Stainless steel screws do the best job here. The bolts have a tendency to wiggle around when you try to put the toilet over them. To make life easier, use the extra nuts and washers to stabilize the bolts.
Put masking tape on the floor by the bolts. This helps you know where to set the bowl down when you’re struggling to see over the heavy toilet bowl you’ll be carrying.
To avoid putting the toilet in the wrong place, arrange the bolts and set the bowl over them as if you were securing it for good. But, don’t actually use the wax seal yet! This way you can make sure that everything is in the right place and make adjustments if necessary.
After you’ve done this test run, place the new toilet upside down.
Run the wax seal under warm water, and then place it on the bottom of the toilet.
Take the paper towel out of the pipe.
Align the seal with the closet flange and bolts. Then, set the bowl down on the ground.
Gently rock the bowl back and forth to secure it. It might help to put a knee on the lid and push with your body weight as you rock it. Eventually, the bottom of the bowl will be level with the ground.
Add a cap base, washer, and nut to each of the bolts that secure the toilet to the ground. Don’t tighten them too much! It could break the bowl. Tighten back and forth between the bolts on each side of the toilet to make sure that both sides are even.
Replace the caps that cover the bolts. The covering prevents rust by keeping liquid off the bolts. If the bolts are too high for the caps to fit, use the hacksaw to cut off the top.
2. Install New Tank
Flip the new tank upside down. Slide a bolt to into each side of the base.
Place the rubber gasket on the toilet base.
Put the new tank on the bowl.
Attach the tank to the bowl using brass bolts.. Alternating, hand tighten the screws from beneath. Add the nuts. Careful of tightening too much and cracking the toilet.
Reconnect the water supply tube to the overflow pipe.
Attach water supply to the connection beneath the tank
Turn on the water supply–slowly.
Test the toilet. Check for leaks. If it is leaking, try tightening the bolts securing the tank to the bowl or the bolts securing the bowl to the ground.
It’s long been wondered and debated whether handwashing dishes is more energy-efficient than machine washing. Energy-efficient methods are useful since they save you money on your utility bill and help the environment. And now many dishwasher machine brands are claiming to use less water than other brands. If you’re looking to understand which method or which brand is most cost-effective for your monthly bills, you’ll need answers to a few questions. Just how much water does a dishwasher use per cycle? Does dishwasher use less water than handwashing? And what affects how much energy a dishwasher uses?
How Many Gallons of Water Does a Dishwasher Use?
The question actually isn’t as simple as “How many gallons of water does a dishwasher use?” You also need answers to questions like, “How much water does a dishwasher use per cycle?” and “How many gallons of water does the average dishwasher use compared to energy efficient dishwashers?”
Energy Star-rated dishwashers use an average of four gallons (15 liters) per cycle. Any other average dishwasher uses a bit more: six gallons (23 liters) per cycle. In some cases, an Energy Star certified washer could use three gallons (11 liters) per cycle. That is half the amount of water a dishwasher uses in an average brand appliance. If you are looking to be efficient, you might want to find yourself an Energy Star certified dishwasher to cut back on how much water you are using per cycle.
Is Handwashing Dishes More Efficient?
It depends, but typically it isn’t. You would need to take into account the amount of water you are using, the faucet you have in your sink, and the number of dishes you are washing by hand. Then, you would need to compare that amount to how many dishes you would have in your dishwasher.
Ultimately, it comes down to:
How much water does a dishwasher use per load?
How much water does handwashing a load of dishes use?
Most people leave the faucet on while they hand wash and rinse their dishes. This can use up to 27 gallons of water, much more than the amount of water used by a dishwasher. Even if you turn off the water while you hand wash the dishes and only turn it on to rinse them, you still need to work very quickly to match the amount of water per dish compared to a dishwashing machine. If you’re washing your dishes by hand and then placing them in the dishwasher for another wash, it’s not the best idea. This method is likely the worst option if you are looking for energy efficiency.
The Water Heater and Handwashing Dishes
If you are washing dishes by hand, you’re likely heating the water to warm it up a bit. You need to take this into account, as well, when considering how eco-friendly and energy efficient the handwashing technique is compared to using the dishwasher. It can be more efficient if the water is not boiling hot when you are washing and rinsing, but you do need to be mindful of how many dishes you are washing and avoid letting the faucet run freely without any dishes being actively cleaned. Running the water too long could result in your water heater having to do too much work. This can up your utility bill.
How Can the Dishwasher Increase its Energy Efficiency?
There are a few things you can be careful about to ensure your dishwasher is more energy efficient, whether it’s Energy Star or an uncertified brand. First off, only run the dishwasher if you have a full load in the dishwasher. You can also turn off the ‘heated dry’ option if it’s on your appliance. Even though the dishwasher is using heated water, by turning off the heat at the end of the cycle, you’re being more energy efficient.
How Much Water Does a Dishwasher Use Over Time?
Dishwashers are great. They save on time, as handwashing can be quite a process, especially after a messy meal. But what happens when you add up the loads all together? One model can save more water than another, but the average dishwasher uses several gallons of water to clean the dishes. You are likely using your dishwasher a few times per week. Depending on the number of people in your household, the number of monthly gallons of water used by your dishwasher will vary.
If you are using your dishwasher every day and it’s Energy Star certified, you’re using around 120 gallons (454 liters) of water per month. If your dishwasher is not Energy Star certified, then you’re using around 180 gallons (681 liters) of water per month. If you cut that in half, so you are only using your dishwasher every other day or so, you would use somewhere around 60-90 gallons (227- 340 liters) per month. Washing dishes less might be easier if you live alone or with fewer people, but families or people with roommates might have trouble lowering their dishwasher usage.
The Environmental Footprint of Your Dishwasher
Watching out for energy efficiency is about more than just saving money. It’s also about using Earth’s resources wisely. In comparison to your dishwasher cycle, the food you eat requires much more water. If you’re looking to cut back on your environmental footprint, perhaps start there.
The production of a pound of beef requires 2,400 gallons (9,085 liters) of water. 32 gallons (121 liters) of water are needed to produce a single glass of wine. 19 gallons (72 liters) are required for just one apple. The dishwasher uses a good amount of water, though is it too much in the big picture? That depends on other lifestyle and household choices you’re making.
If you’re looking to cut back on your utility bill, perhaps decrease showering time and turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth. Not only will that save you some cash, but it is helpful to the environment, as well. Or you can make other environmentally-minded adjustments to your dishwashing, such as using natural detergents.
How Much Water Does a Dishwasher Use?
Answering the question “how much water does a dishwasher use?” is complicated, as there are many factors. To cut back, ensure the appliance is full, heated dry is turned off, and perhaps cut back on handwashing before dishwashing if that’s part of your dishwashing routine. If you have not already done so, and can manage it, Energy Star certified appliances will also be of benefit in your dishwashing and household chores.