I love my dishwashers

2007-11-30 00:00

I love my dishwashers. I have two. They give me more pleasure even than my dangerous power tools, because I loathe washing dishes.

The fact the Gadget household has two dishwashers is not because Gadget Guy has more money than sense. Let me explain. My long-serving AEG OKI Favorit broke down and the (reputable?) repair company informed me that it would be more expensive to fix than to replace.

Gadget Gramps was aghast, indignant even. He carted the machine off to his secret workshop and nothing further was heard. I didn’t think old OKI would make it out of his intensive care unit, so after the tedium of several weeks manual dishwashing I swallowed hard and wafted my credit card at a Miele which I was promised would not break down in a hurry. Meanwhile Gadget Gramps painstakingly nursed old OKI back to active service through several operations and a difficult convalescence.

So not only does the Gadget household have two dishwashers, they are both used frequently! One dishwasher is good, two dishwashers are even better. Every house should have at least two. I would recommend three.

Before you start getting all environmental on me, let me tell all you treehuggers that using a dishwasher is politically and ecologically correct. It uses significantly less water and electricity than washing by hand. I have proof.

A study carried out in seven European countries by the University of Bonn found that the modern dishwasher uses half the energy, one-sixth of the water and less soap than even the most sparing and careful hand washers. They also rated the cleanliness achieved, again in favour of the washing machine.

The Bonn study investigated 113 people and found that on average 103 litres of water, 2,5 kWh of energy and 79 minutes of time was needed to wash up 12 place settings of dishes by hand. This compared with 15 litres of water, 1,05 kWh of energy and 15 minutes taken to load and unload the machine.

The study leader, the importantly-titled Prof. Dr. rer.nat. Rainer Stamminger, calculated that using a dishwasher once a day would save about 32 000 litres and over 400 hours of your time each year. So, as far as I am concerned, the more dishwashers you have the more eco-friendly you are.

However, this does depend on using a modern, energy and water efficient dishwasher. Europe, the U.S. and Australia have taken this very seriously, and in Europe most appliances are required to carry the official label indicating its energy rating. In Europe the energy efficiency is calculated according to the number of place settings. The measurement is expressed in kWh per 12 place settings.

The European energy labelling system is supplemented with ratings for wash efficiency and drying efficiency which are also rated between A and G. So a dishwasher with a rating of AAA is therefore the best machine to get.

In the U.S. and Australia there is a four-star rating system and in the U.S. some electricity supply companies offer a cash rebate to consumers if you use a dishwasher with a four-star rating. In Australia the government dishes out awards to the manufacturers of the most energy and water efficient machines. The official Australian government website (www.energyrating.gov.au) rates each machine on the market and even allows you to calculate how much money you will save each year by using it. A four-star machine will save about $400 (over R2 400) a year in electricity alone.

In Australia winners were Asiko and Kleenmaid — brands which we don’t appear to have in South Africa. Gadget Guy couldn’t find any ratings for popular South Africa brands such as Samsung and my Miele didn’t have any labels on it.

So if you are in the market for a dishwasher, save yourself, save money and save the planet — buy two (kickbacks and gratuities from retailers gratefully received).

• Contact Gadget Guy at gadgetguy@witness.co.za

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