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Modern Kitchen Appliances: Today's Dishwashers Offer Quiet, Effective Cleanups

by Susanne Clemenz

Like other modern kitchen appliances, dishwashers are more energy efficient and more programmable than older models. But before visiting an appliance showroom, jot down your current dishwasher's shortcomings, your desired price range, and features you'd like. Then check out the U.S. Department of Energy's online ENERGY STAR guidelines plus brand ratings and frequency of repair records with Consumer Reports. This can help you avoid bells and whistles you don't need, and be in control of the kitchen appliance purchasing process.

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What's New with Dishwashing Appliances?

If your current dishwasher is ten years old, a lot is new.

  • Cosmetics: Stainless steel or black exteriors, colored enamel exteriors, and doors that accept wood panels that match your kitchen cabinets for a built-in look are all nice options.
  • Settings: Basic models offer cycles for light, medium, and heavy loads, and may clean as well as pricier models. You pay more for models with half-load, pot scrubber, china/crystal, steam clean, dirt sensing, and rinse hold settings, and an ability to raise the water temperature.
  • Layouts: The dish placement layout of some basic models hasn't changed much--these often do a great job. But there are definite improvements available, such as fold-down dividers, irregularly shaped baskets that accommodate larger items, swing-down cup holders, adjustable basket height, flatware baskets with individual slots, and cleanable filters.
  • Features: Double drawers for small loads, double spray arms, very quiet motors, and stainless steel interiors are among other choices.

Compare the duration of normal cleaning cycles and the decibel ratings, which vary from model to model. Full dishwashers use less water than hand washing and sanitize dishes better. There are lots of benefits to upgrading soon!


About the Author

Suzanne Clemenz designed her passive solar home and interacted with the contractors every day of the 6-month project. She started drawing floor plans and making models in the early '70s after purchasing several building lots. Recently she expanded and

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