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Appliances

This is why you may need a new dishwasher

Face it. It's time to move on if your dishwasher has any of these problems.

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Newer dishwashers save water and electricity.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

If you hate washing dishes, your favorite appliance in your house is probably your trusty dishwasher. One that's ready to be replaced can be more trouble than it's worth, though. Here are some signs your old friend may be nearing its last wash.

It's not energy efficient

The number one reason to replace your old dishwasher is efficiency. The best way to know if it is as efficient as it could be is by looking for the Energy Star label on the back of the unit. An Energy Star-certified dishwasher is 12 percent more energy efficient and 30 percent more water efficient than models that don't have the certification.

Another clue is its age. If it was manufactured before 1994, then it's probably wasting $35 a year in utility charges and 10 gallons of water per cycle. A big clue that your dishwasher is decades old is if it is olive, yellow or almond colored. Some units may have a manufacturing date on the back. If all else fails, google the model number and brand.

It keeps breaking down

First it was the door latch, then it was the heating element, and then the water pump. If you're constantly getting repairs on your dishwasher, it is probably time to give up and get a new one. At some point, you're going to spend more on labor and parts than the appliance is worth.

If you're just trying to be less wasteful, there are plenty of places that will recycle old appliances, so you don't need to worry about old faithful adding to landfills. In fact, some appliance stores will pick up and take your old dishwasher to the recycler for you.

It's rusting

Sweep your broom under the front of your dishwasher. If you sweep up any rust flakes it's time to get a new one. A rusty dishwasher is on it last go-around, not to mention a rusty appliance can stain or damage your floor's finish.

The door or walls are cracked

If the inside of the door or walls are cracked, chances are water is seeping into the mechanics of the machine. This can cause mold and may be an electrical hazard. Don't take chances in this scenario. Get an upgrade.

Don't go back to hand-washing

You may be thinking, "Oh well, I'll get rid of my old clunker and go back to hand-washing my dishes." Don't do that! Washing dishes by hand wastes more electricity and uses more water than a new dishwasher. Check out this article for the details.