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Buying a Dishwasher in Australia: Is it Time to Replace Yours?


While much of the world doesn’t see dishwashers as a necessary home appliance, just as the washing machine took over, dishwashers are becoming an increasingly common feature in the average Australian kitchen. Dishwashers save us time, and energy, that hand-washing dishes takes up and after cooking, it’s so much more convenient to put all the dirty dishes in a machine that cleans them without your effort. Whether you want to install a dishwasher in your home, or need to replace your old model, find out everything you need to know about dishwashers in Australia by reading more below.

Is it time to replace your dishwasher?

If you’re wondering whether it’s time to replace your dishwasher, the answer really depends on you. Dishwashers can be tricky, in that it can be hard to figure out if it’s easier to repair or replace them when they start to wear down and work less efficiently. However, if you have an older model dishwasher, at least 10 years old, the answer is probably yes it’s time to replace your dishwasher.

Should I repair or replace my dishwasher?

Sometimes, it might be more cost-effective to repair your dishwasher rather than replacing the whole machine. However, dishwashers can be difficult and it can be hard to decide whether an issue requires a replacement or a repair.

If money is a factor, you may want to hold off and spend your money on another appliance such as a new refrigerator or air conditioner. This is because unlike a refrigerator, dishwashers have a substitute: handwashing. 

Regardless of the issue, if any repair costs more than 50% of the cost of replacing your dishwasher, or your dishwasher is more than 10 years old, you should probably consider replacing it with a new and more efficient model.

Repair or replace my dishwasher?
Replace the dishwasher Repair the dishwasher
  • If the cost of repairing is more than 50% of the cost of a new dishwasher
  • The dishwasher is 10 years old
  • The spray arm no longer works
  • The dishwasher leaves dishes dirty
  • The door is not opening or closing properly
  • The dishwasher isn’t draining or filling
  • The dishwasher is making funny noises
  • The dishwasher isn’t getting hot

How can I extend the life of my dishwasher?

Dishwashers are an expensive appliance no one wants to replace every few years. However, there are some easy ways to extend the life of your dishwasher.

 Use a powder-based detergent rather than a gel-based detergent: Gel-based detergents often contain corrosive ingredients like chlorine bleach which can slowly erode the inside of your dishwasher - and make sure you’re using the right amount. Too much detergent can damage your appliance.

 Use hot water: Using the hottest setting on your dishwasher not only cleans your dishes better but also your actual dishwasher by preventing buildup and slowing deterioration.

 Rinse your dishes: A quick scrape and rinse can prevent food scraps from clogging parts of the machine like the filters and drain.

 Load smart: Avoid overloading your dishwasher, and make sure to load it properly with your dishes facing the centre of the machine, the heaviest dishes on the bottom, and cups and bowls facing down from the top.

 Clean your dishwasher: Dishwashers should be deep cleaned at least once a month to improve efficiency and performance.

Types of dishwashers

It might seem like a dishwasher is a dishwasher, and all dishwashers are the same. This is not true, and choosing the right dishwasher for your home, lifestyle, and design can mean the difference between constant frustration and 10+ years of dishwasher happiness.

 Freestanding dishwasher: A dishwasher that doesn’t need to be built into your kitchen. Available in a number of sizes, finishes, and designs, and can be moved and put anywhere there is space and a connection

 Integrated dishwasher: A dishwasher built behind a panel to match your cabinets and cupboards and can be fully integrated or semi-integrated with or without the control panel showing

 Built-in dishwasher: A dishwasher completely built into your kitchen to prevent gaps for a clean design. Built-in dishwashers can be fully integrated or semi-integrated

 Drawer dishwashers: A smaller dishwasher installed in a waist-height drawer. Available in single or double-drawer models and while they take up less space they also hold fewer dishes

Energy efficiency and dishwashers

Energy efficiency is important for all home appliances, as choosing energy-efficient appliances can save you hundreds of dollars every year.

Australia uses the Energy Star energy efficiency label system (a six or ten-star system) so consumers can quickly compare the energy efficiency of appliances and choose the best option for them. When it comes to dishwashers, it’s recommended to choose a model with at least 3.5 stars.

Every additional star can save you up to 30% on your energy consumption and annual running costs.

Speaking of efficiency, do you know how efficient your heating is?Check out selectra's guides to all things heating and learn about underfloor heating, hydronic heating, and ducted heating for your home.

How much does a new dishwasher cost?

The cost of a dishwasher really depends on what type of dishwasher you want.

It may surprise you to learn that just like buying a new TV, there a tons of options to choose from with dishwashers.

While you might want to go for the cheapest option, you should first consider the energy efficiency, length of the warranty, and whether it fits your needs. A mid-range dishwasher can cost around $1,000, and be as good as more expensive models.

New dishwasher price
Type of dishwasher Cost of dishwasher
Freestanding dishwashers $400 - $2,000
Benchtop (compact) dishwashers $250 - $1,000
Built-in dishwashers $1,200 - $2,800
Semi-integrated dishwashers $900 - $4,000
Fully-integrated dishwashers $800 - $6,000

Running cost of a dishwasher

The cost to run your dishwasher depends on several factors including the size of the dishwasher, the energy star rating, and your energy rates.

In general, your dishwasher could cost you 10c per load for a 4-star, 6 to 8 place, energy-efficient dishwasher while a 15 to 17 place dishwasher with a 2-star energy rating could cost you 25c per load. This could mean an annual running cost, if you use your dishwasher once per day, between $40 and $100 going just towards running your dishwasher.

Want to improve the efficiency of your dishwasher? Make sure to regularly deep clean your dishwasher and make sure it is regularly maintained to keep it working in tip-top shape

Dishwasher FAQ

How to clean a dishwasher

Dishwashers ought to be deep cleaned at least once a month, which will not only make sure your dishes are as clean as possible but will also extend the life of your machine. Here are the three steps needed to give your dishwasher a deep cleaning:

  1. Clean the drain: Make sure the drain is clear of any fallen scraps, grime, or gunk and clean it with a wet sponge or cloth
  2. Wash the filter: Use a plastic brush or scrub to gently remove gunk and buildup from the filter
  3. Run a cycle with vinegar: Use white vinegar or baking soda in a measuring cup placed on the top rack of your empty dishwasher, and run the hot water cycle, to clean and sterilise the inside of your dishwasher

How to load a dishwasher

  1. Heaviest items on the bottom rack and lighter items in the middle or on the top rack
  2. Face the dirty side of the dish towards the centre of your dishwasher where the spray arm is located
  3. Keep tall items (baking sheets, cutting boards) towards the exterior sides to avoid blocking the spray arm
  4. Place things, such as cups, bowls, and bottles, facedown on the top rack of the dishwasher to avoid water filling them up
  5. Don’t stack items, and make sure they aren’t touching each other, which prevents water and soap from effectively cleaning the surface

What is the life expectancy of a dishwasher?

The average dishwasher should last you about ten years of use, with some brands even lasting for 20 years. With proper cleaning and regular maintenance, your dishwasher will last longer and work more efficiently.

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