Wednesday, February 6, 2008

#168 - Define "Normal".

Stop Using the Normal Cycle on the Dishwasher. Or Don't. You Decide!

I had a pretty big blonde moment last week, when I read a post in one of my newsgroups about a woman looking for help on how to cut back on her water usage. She went on to describe all the current water-saving measures she was taking -- fewer showers, not watering the lawn, using the short cycle on the dishwasher, putting a brick in the toilet (not what it sounds like), etc.

Wait. Did you see it? The third one on the list? SHORT CYCLE? What the hell is THAT about? So I checked the front of my dishwasher and lo and behold - I have a button on there that says "Light Wash". I have been using the "Normal Wash" since the day I got it. Want to know what the difference is? Yeah, so did I:

The Normal Wash on my GE Built-in runs 56 minutes and uses 5.9 gallons of water. The Light Wash, however, takes only 36 minutes but uses 6.1 gallons of water. You know where they hid all this information? Deep inside some pieces of paper stapled together and labeled "Useless Guide and Manual". WTF?

Oh, my bad. I guess that's "User's Guide and Manual". Close enough.

Anyhoo, here's my quandry: Do I stick with the Normal Wash or switch to the Light Wash? One uses less water, the other uses less energy (My electricity, BTW, does come from a renewable energy source, and yours can too!). I'd love to hear what you all think about this dilemma -- just so long as you don't suggest I handwash! You know, because after all that pre-rinsing, I'm exhausted.

So, in the words of Linda Richman, "I'm feeling verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves..... I'll give you a topic: A Light Wash Cycle is neither light nor cyclical. Discuss."

12 comments:

leslie said...

Normal. Save the water. It's not renewable, as is your energy source.
Now check out how much energy is used on the "heated dry" cycle...

Crunchy Chicken said...

If the lightwash adequately washes your dishes (our sometimes does not - unless you handwash them really well first, which defeats the purpose) then go that route. The difference is only .2 gallons but you are saving 20 minutes of electricity. I suspect your dishwasher isn't an Energy Star rated one, so the draw is probably more significant than the .2 gallons.

Also, make sure you have your dishwasher set to air dry to save even more energy (but you probably already do, don't you :).

leslie said...

Come and get your award. I'm not gonna bring it to ya...
:)

Wendy said...

I use the "light" cycle on my dishwasher. It's actually labeled "water miser" on my apartment-sized, portable dishwasher. Since we rinse all of our dishes before they go into the dishwasher anyway, it makes more sense, to me, to do the shorter cycle, and I assume in my case, the "light" cycle actually saves water, because it is called "water miser."

It's hard for me to advocate using extra energy, just because you can. So, my first impulse is to say use the extra water, because you're saving a half hour's worth of electricity ...

But, you use a renewable energy source, and you're not reusing your gray water, and so I'd say continue using the normal cycle. You're saving 32 ounces of water per load. It doesn't seem like a lot, but if you do a load of dishes every day, that works out to about 91 gallons of water saved over a years' time.

It's actually a win-win (or lose-lose depending on your personal philosophy :) situtaion for you, because no matter which one you choose, you're going to save. It's just a matter of whether you want to save electricity or water.

e4 said...

Ok, so 0.2 gallons difference amounts to about a pint and a half. If you really wanted to dig into it, you could do some calculations to figure out which is less, the energy cost of getting that water to you or the energy cost of using that electricity. But I'm quite lazy. My gut feeling is that unless you're in a drought area, 1/3 shorter run time is better than saving a couple glasses of water.

Burbanmom said...

Oh my gourdy, I am loving the different opinions! I should do discussion posts more often!

And I should add that I have NEVER used the heated dry setting -- on any dishwasher. I may be "newly green" but I've been cheap all my life! ;-)

Erin aka Burbanmom

heather t said...

::thwack:: I can't believe I missed this one. I have not only a Short Wash cycle, I also have a Light China cycle! Off to google my dishwasher to see if I can find a Useless Manual of my own.

just ducky said...

I don't want to seem like a big cotton-headed ninny muggins (someone quick tell me what movie I've just referenced!)...but in the end I don't think it matters. You use a renewable energy source on one end and a little bit more water on the other...if I had to pick I'd go with the shorter cycle but only if it works as well as the other cycle...but then again--I'm a newbie too. Ask Greenpa from Little Blog in the Big Woods...he'd have a good answer in 3 seconds flat...his mind is very analytical--where mine is more like "Look! Pretty colors!"

Low Impact Home said...

Why do you pre-rinse? That wastes more water then your dishwasher does. We gave up pre-rinsing at the begining of the year and have noticed that as long as you scrape the plates to get off most of the stuff the dishwasher does a great job of getting the dishes clean.

Burbanmom said...

Low Impact,

Yeah, I know, the pre-rinse is definitely a water-waster. I've tried to quit -- believe me, I've tried! Follow the link where I mention the pre-rinsing and you'll see why I just can't give it up....

leslie said...

Heather said, "Google my dishwasher", and I knew exactly what she meant.
That is funny when you think about it, isn't it? Or is it just me? Just me? I thought so...

Gruppie Girl said...

Who knew?

Another example of something that most of us just do everyday without thinking about it.

Personally, I use the normal cycle but set the dishwasher to go on at night when energy is cheaper. I also turn off the dry cycle. I figure the water has a couple of hours to evaporate before I wake up.