Even in the “information age,” there are a ton of myths floating around about every day things. You’ve surely heard that we only use 10 percent of our brains. As it turns out, that is in fact false. Have you been told that drains swirl in different directions depending on which hemisphere you’re in? Also untrue! Check out these five common home appliance myths and see which ones are true and which are false.

white decor kitchen

Photo courtesy of Susan Serra, CKD

#1: Appliances in stand-by mode use no power

Many people think that just because their dishwasher, microwave or refrigerator isn’t actually running that it must not be using any electricity. Truth is, you might be surprised how much juice a “sleeping” appliance uses. A microwave, for example, uses six watts an hour. Even a landline telephone uses up five watts an hour or more. Collectively, “sleeping” appliances can suck up between 15 and 30 watts per hour. With 24 hours in a day, that quickly adds up! Want to cut down your power bill? Don’t just shut your appliances off, pull the plug.

#2: Microwaves emit harmful radiation

dishwash with dishes

Many people believe that their microwave kicks out dangerous radiation. While microwaves do in fact use radiation to heat our delicious leftovers, the only way to actually expose yourself is to come into direct contact with said radiation—meaning you would have to be inside the microwave.

#3: Dishes need to be pre-rinsed before putting them in the dishwasher

Let’s face it: we spend enough time on dishes as it is. Knowing the truth behind this one will get you out of the kitchen and into the backyard for some family time before you can say “Cascade.” Contrary to popular belief, the majority of your dirty dishes do not need to be pre-rinsed before being placed in the dishwasher. In fact, rinsing off every bit of food from your plates, glasses and cutlery can do more harm than good. Without the normal grease and grime, the alkaline levels in your dishwasher will be much higher than normal. Over time, this will eat away at your dishes, causing cloudiness and scratches. That being said, caked-on food bits should be handled differently and given time to soak before being put through the wash.

#4: Dishwashers fill all the way up with water during a cycle

dishwash with dishes

Photo courtesy of Meryl

Believe it or not, one of the most commonly expressed concerns on repair calls is the fear of opening a dishwasher mid-cycle, due to possibility of a flooded kitchen. While it sounds believable, the only part of your dishwasher that fills up with water is the tub below the level of the door. All the washing is done with water jets on rotating arms. Because of this, you can open the dishwasher during its cycle without any fear of flooding your kitchen. You will, however, get a face full of steam.

#5: Hand-washing dishes is faster than using the machine

A lot of folks think they’re being green and conserving resources by washing their dishes the old fashioned way. That may not be the case, though. Your dishwasher uses a measly three or four gallons per load. The amount of water it takes to repetitively fill the sink and rinse off individual dishes with a running tap can be much higher. If you only have a few dishes to wash, hand-washing is the way to go. But for a full load’s worth, hand-washing wastes your time, your effort and your water.

The next time you purchase an appliance, take a quick flip through the user’s manual for facts like these. If you do find yourself in need of a repair, contact the Appliance Repair Experts to set up a service call.