Good News For Impatient People Who Like Clean Dishes

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about dishwashers–the kind that are installed in with your kitchen cabinets and take forever to clean the dishes about as well as your average cat. I realize that does not apply to all dishwashers, but since the environmentalists got involved, it applies to a lot of them. Well, that is about to change.

The article reports:

Consumers outraged about slow dishwashers are staunchly backing an Energy Department move, over industry objections, to create a new category of products that feature a one-hour washing cycle.

Individual consumers have flooded the public comment docket in support of the Energy Department proposal, which grants a petition made by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank. The agency proposal would establish a separate product class for dishwashers that clean and dry dishes within one hour, an action that would exclude those appliances from current energy and water conservation standards until separate rules are crafted.

The Energy Department could finalize the proposal as soon as next year.

“A First World country deserves a dishwasher that can actually clean soiled dishes in an hour – as it used to have before this regulation was enacted to ‘save’ us energy and money. It doesn’t,” one individual consumer, Chad Anderson, wrote in a comment submitted this week.

The article concludes:

The Energy Department, though, in its proposal said data and customer complaints show many consumers would value “shorter cycle times to clean a normally-soiled load of dishes.” Watkins argued that no dishwasher models currently exist on the market that have a normal one-hour cycle for washing and drying.

Mauer said a number of factors, including consumer preferences for more efficient and quieter dishwashers, have impacted the cycle times.

And she said the lack of standards for the new product class also means the Energy Department’s move likely violates a provision in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which prohibits the agency from loosening the efficiency standards.

Appliance makers also say the product class isn’t necessary, and they say the Energy Department action creates new regulatory burdens that will cost manufacturers.

Creating a new product class would lead to stranded investments for companies, “as manufacturers would essentially be required to abandon” innovations in efficiency they’d made to comply with the previous standards, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers wrote in comments.

The group, which represents more than 150 companies, wrote it has raised concerns about dishwasher cycle times previously but stressed this wasn’t the venue to address them.

Watkins of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, however, argued appliance makers don’t want the Energy Department to change the current limits because it would open up the market to new companies that haven’t spent the money to comply with conservation limits.

“They now view the regulations in some way as a barrier to entry” into the market, Watkins said. He also suggested that creating a new product class could relieve some of the pressure manufacturers face from ever-tightening standards due to the law’s “one-way ratchet.”

Plus, it’s hard to argue with the overwhelming consumer support, Watkins said, pointing to a recent survey the group conducted of more than 1,000 customers showing a majority prefer dishwasher cycles of one hour or less.

“Where can I get a MDGA* hat? (*Make Dishwashers Great Again),” one consumer wrote in the comments.

What has happened to dishwashers in recent years is another example of the government deciding what is good for the consumer without giving the consumer a voice in the decision. The idea of a dishwasher that effectively cleans dishes in an hour is a winner. Government regulation and interference kept it from being a reality.

I Had No Idea Why My Dishwasher Took So Long

My house was built in approximately 2013. Because of when it was built, it has relatively new appliances. I wondered what was going on the first time the dishwasher took more than two hours, but now I know.

The Daily Signal posted an article yesterday about how government regulations impact home appliances.

Some of the examples given:

Exhibit A: A federal rule to cut energy use of microwave ovens when they are off (this is not a joke). To reduce energy use by two watts per oven (also not a joke) the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office pushed manufacturers to adopt a technology that caused the ovens to fail 50 percent of the time in the Department of Energy’s own tests.

Exhibit B: Dishwashers with interminable cycle times. To save eight cents of hot water, federal mandates led to wash cycles taking much longer to complete. Two- and three-hour cycles, virtually unheard of 20 years ago, are commonplace today.

My washing machine also takes twice as long as my old clunker used to take.

The article concludes:

The bureaucrats-know-better-than-consumers mindset is especially nonsensical when it is applied to businesses that relentlessly monitor energy use. Such is the case with the trucking industry, which employs GPS and a host of driver and truck monitoring technologies to shave fuel use to the minimum. A 10th of a mile per gallon is a big deal. Operators do not need federal mandates to spur cost cuts.

That isn’t stopping the federal government from pushing costly new efficiency rules on the trucking industry. Regulatory proponents, of course, claim it won’t cost a thing. The director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies said, “The beauty of the proposal is that the cost of the necessary improvements will be paid for by the savings associated with the increased fuel efficiency.” This association of regulators either believes in free lunches or stupid executives.

What regulation mongers don’t seem to believe is that consumers and businesses can be trusted to make intelligent decisions. Maybe we need an Independence Day from busybodies.

It would be nice if the government would let the free market determine these things. I suspect we would not only have more efficient appliances, we would have appliances that performed their tasks quickly and efficiently.