A dishwasher is another kitchen staple that contributes to your monthly bill. On average, most dishwashers use 1,800 watts of electricity, so if you run it for an hour, that’s 1.8 kWh. In the U.S., the average cost per kWh is 14 – 16 cents, so running your dishwasher for one hour, five days a week, would cost you about $1.44 per week. Again, this may vary depending on your local electricity rates, and in places like the Northeast or West Coast, the average cost per kWh can be as high as 21 cents. Additionally, most modern dishwashers run for more than one hour — some for as long as four hours. Paying $1.44 per week might not seem like much, but if you live in an area with a higher rate and your dishwasher runs for four hours, that cost could jump up to $10 per week, or $40 a month (that’s what a gym membership costs!).

What about handwashing your dishes? This might seem like a money-saving route, but consider that most modern dishwashers use up to nine times less water than handwashing dishes. Depending on how much hot water you run during your average dishwashing-by-hand session, the cost savings question may end up as a wash, energy use-wise (pun intended!).

Similar to a refrigerator, the age of your dishwasher and whether or not it’s an efficient model (like ENERGY STAR) does factor into electricity savings. But there are a few things you can do to help further cut costs.

  • Run your dishwasher at night. Time of use (TOU) rates occur when the price of electricity changes based on the time of day. Often, prices are cheaper at night because of lower demand. Try to auto-delay running your dishwasher overnight to take advantage of lower rates.
  • Only run full loads. Make sure your dishwasher is completely full before running a load. This makes the most of your energy and water usage.
  • Let dishes air dry. If you have the time, let your dishes air dry versus drying in the dishwasher. This helps cut down on energy used to heat the dishwasher for drying.