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Appliance World

Not a Dry Dish in the House

No other appliance has gone through more recent changes than your dishwasher. While many things have improved, especially in its efficiency of power and water usage, some feel as if dishes don’t dry as well as they did in their old machines. This is mostly because of how dishwashers used to dry versus how they dry now. With constantly changing energy standards, appliance manufactures had to make a change. Some brands have always strived to make energy efficient dishwashers and had to make few alterations, while many others had to completely rework their production.


            One of the biggest changes is how much power could be used in a dishwasher. Heating coils were common as they could sometimes heat the water during the wash cycle and then once it drained, dry your dishes, using almost the same power as an oven. This would typically have your dishes come out piping hot, almost feeling like you’ve burned your hand if you try to put away glasses and plates too soon. While there are still options for heating coils available in some brands, they don’t use the same power and won’t get as hot as it’s predecessors. This coil also meant it was risky to wash some plastics and you could never put them on the bottom rack or they would melt. For new dishwashers that don’t have a coil they are safe for most plastics, no matter what rack you load them on.


While drying may not have been an issue in older models, efficiency was. They used an extensive amount of power to achieve these temperatures for drying, but it was hard to properly heat up the water with this method and additional elements were needed; it was often advised to run the hot water to your sink before starting the dishwasher. Another change dishwashers had to make with energy regulations was the amount of water used. Some brands today can use as little as 4 gallons of water per cycle compared to up to 15 gallons per cycle in older models which is almost 4,000 gallons less over it’s lifecycle.


Even with all of that water you still often had to prewash most dishes and they still didn’t come out nearly as clean as your new dishwasher will. So not only did it consume more water during use, but you often had to use more water to wash before and after running a cycle. It is recommended to not prewash any of your dishes as many of todays machines have sensors and your detergent is designed with enzymes to break down the mess left on your dishes. Another draw back to the excessive use of water was how loud your dishwashers used to be, they would often drown out any conversation in your kitchen while it was running and in an open floor plan can even be heard in your living room or dining room. Most dishwashers available today are so quiet they have to shine a light just to indicate they are in use.


The best drying method used in dishwashers today is condensation dry. Condensation happens when water collects on a cold surface when it’s in humid air. This mostly commonly happens when enjoying a cool drink outside in the summer or when your mirror is foggy after a hot shower. The glass and mirror are the coldest surfaces so the water is pulled to them. Using a condensation dry in your dishwasher works similarly and is both more hygienic and efficient than the traditional heating coils. The hotter the water, the better the clean; the hotter the water, the better the dry.

To achieve this, water is heated as if flows into the machine instead of having to rely on hot water from your water line. After the initial rinse cycle the hot water is used to clean and then water reaches it’s highest temperature for the final rinse cycle and to heat the dishes. Once the water drains, the stainless steel interior starts to cool faster then the dishes and the water attracts to this surface instead. Drying is not an issue with most of your dishes but you may notice that your plastics are something that may still be wet at the end of the cycle. This is because plastics will cool quicker then the stainless steel tub, since the water is attracted to the cooler surface, it will not dry as well as the silverware, glassware, ceramic and porcelain dishes.


Almost every dishwasher brand will recommend using a rinse-aid to assist in drying. The rinse-aid does not need to be added for every cycle and with average use will only need to be refilled about once a month. It is best to slowly pour it in the tank to make sure it is filled properly. Your dishwasher will indicate when more needs to be added so you don’t need to check the level yourself. It can be found next to where you load your dishwashing detergent but it will slowly dispense, as it is needed at the proper time during the cycle. Rinse-aid works by reducing the surface tension of water on your dishes, so droplets will not form as easily meaning it will drain from your dishes better and leave behind fewer spots as they dry.


Appliance brands are always looking for ways to improve this process as drying is actually the most complicated part of their machines. Some methods used to dispense extra heat include small fans to circulate air and even minerals, which can also absorb some of the moisture. Features like auto-open are available with certain models and will slightly open the door at the end of the cycle; this lets some of the water escape and drain more efficiently. Once you get used to the changes and understand how much more efficient your new dishwasher will be, drying will be a problem of the past. To compare all makes and models of dishwashers and to answer any other questions, please stop into one of Appliance World’s showrooms to speak with a sales associate today and don’t be left high and not dry with the wrong dishwasher.