How Many Amps Does a Dishwasher Use?

Twin Cities Appliance
July 8, 2024
Dishwasher Repair

For DIY enthusiasts, knowledge is power. Understanding how your appliances work and their electrical requirements is essential for ensuring the safety of your circuits and wiring. A thorough knowledge of amp usage can also help you choose the right dishwasher for your needs and ensure it’s running as it should. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your dishwasher, your kitchen circuitry, or you’re simply curious, this article is for you!

Understanding Amps

Before we get into the amp usage of different dishwasher models, it’s important to understand what amps actually are and why they matter. A thorough understanding will enable you to properly compare and contrast the amp usage of different dishwasher models and can inform your DIY decision-making. 

What Are Amps?

Amps (short for amperes) are units used to measure electrical current. Amps represent how much electrical charge is passing through a circuit during a period of time. It’s basically how much electricity that’s flowing through the wiring to power your dishwasher. 

Amps vs Watts: What’s the Difference?

Amps and watts are both units used to measure electricity, but they measure different aspects of electrical usage. While amps are used to measure how much electrical current is flowing, watts measure how much power an appliance is either consuming or putting out. You can work out the wattage of an appliance by multiplying amps by volts. This can help you figure out the total energy usage of an appliance so you can ensure your wiring circuit can handle all the appliances connected to it. 

Why Knowing Amp Usage Is Important

As a DIYer, you need to know the amps of your appliances for a few reasons. 

  • Planning and installing: When you’re putting in a new dishwasher or making changes to the wiring in your kitchen, knowing the amp usage of your appliances means you can create an electrical circuit that can handle all of your appliances. 
  • Safety: Understanding amps means you can avoid overloading your wiring circuits. Overloading can lead to damage to appliances, short circuits, and even fires. 
  • Avoid tripped breakers: If you don’t know about amp usage, you can end up with an inefficient electrical circuit that can’t handle the full load of appliances. This leads to frequent tripping of the circuit breakers when you use multiple appliances at once. 
  • Energy efficiency: Understanding the amps in your appliances means you have a thorough understanding of how much electricity appliances like your dishwasher are using. This can help you make informed decisions regarding energy use and can even help you save on your electric bill. 

Average Amps Used By Dishwashers

While the amps used by a dishwasher can vary depending on the make, model, and size of the unit, dishwashers generally use between 10 and 15 amps. Here’s a further breakdown of how that differs depending on dishwasher type:

  • Regular dishwashers: Most standard, non-commercial dishwashers use between 10 and 12.5 amps.
  • Energy-efficient dishwashers: Dishwashers that achieve an Energy Star rating are more efficient and use less energy compared to regular dishwashers. On average, energy-starred dishwashers use around 9 or 10 amps. 
  • Compact dishwashers: Compact or countertop dishwashers are popular for small homes as they take up less space and use less energy. You can expect a compact dishwasher to use between 6 and 10 amps, depending on the size and the brand. 
  • High-end models: Large, high-end dishwashers with a range of advanced features tend to use more electricity, and therefore more amps. They can use up to 15 amps, depending on the settings. 

What Can Affect Amp Usage?

While the make and model of the dishwasher largely determine amp usage, those aren’t the only factors that can make a difference. 

  • Cycle type: Choosing a high-temperature or heavy-duty wash cycle will draw more amps and use more power. 
  • Age of the dishwasher: As your dishwasher gets older, it can become less efficient and will draw more amps in order to do the same job. 
  • Condition of the dishwasher: If your dishwasher has worn-out parts, it may need to work harder to clean your dishes, increasing the amp draw. 
  • Wiring: A poorly installed electrical circuit can cause electrical resistance, which causes your dishwasher to draw more amps than necessary. 

How To Find Your Dishwasher’s Amp Usage

Your dishwasher’s manual should include a section that lists its electrical requirements, including amps. This section will usually be called “Electrical Specifications” or something similar.

If you don’t have access to your manual, you can look for a label on the dishwasher itself that includes an amp rating. In most brands, this will be located on the inside lip of the dishwasher door and will include information such as the model number, voltage, and amperage. It should say something like ‘10A’ or ‘12A’.

If you can’t find a label or your manual, try visiting the manufacturer’s website. They often include online versions of all appliance manuals. You can then search the manual to find the section about amp usage. 

If you prefer to measure the dishwasher’s amps directly, you can use a tool called a clamp meter. These can be used by anyone and they don’t require you to disconnect any wires. Here’s what to do:

  • First, read the instructions that come with your clamp meter to ensure you understand how to use your specific model. 
  • Set up the clamp meter according to the instruction manual.
  • Make sure the clamp meter is on the correct setting to measure amps. 
  • Turn on the dishwasher and start your standard cycle. The clamp meter will display the amp usage on its screen. 
  • You can then try running a variety of cycles to compare and contrast amp usage. You should find that hotter cycles use more amps compared to cold or ‘eco’ cycles.
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