Saving Energy in the Kitchen!
If you are looking to lower your utility bills by saving energy, your kitchen is a great place to start. Most people don't realize that the energy you use in the kitchen is responsible for as much as 15% of your utility bills!
Did you know the fridge is one of the biggest energy hogs in your house? Here are four energy saving tips when it comes to your refrigerator.
- Never put warm food into the fridge. It raises the temperature and causes the refrigerator to run.
- Keep the fridge and freezer full. The contents will keep each other cool and help hold the temperature better.
- Vacuum your refrigerator coils twice a year to keep your fridge working efficiently.
- Defrost your food. You can save 30-50% off the energy cost of cooking something if you defrost it first. Just stick it in the fridge overnight.
“Green” cooking all comes down to proper time and space management. By using gas and electric stoves more effectively, you can painlessly save a few dollars a year.
- Cut the power early. As anybody who’s ever bumped a burner on an electric stove can attest, those heating elements stay hot long after they’ve been switched off. Put that residual heat to work by shutting off the burner several minutes before the end of the cook time. The same technique can be applied to the oven. The savings can add up to a couple bucks every month.
- Match the burner to pan. When a small pan is placed on a big burner you can practically see the money disappearing into thin air. By matching the burner to the pan, electricity won’t be squandered heating the kitchen rather than the food. The reverse is true, too. A small burner will take considerably longer to heat a large pan than would an appropriately sized burner. For gas stoves, don’t let the flames lick the sides of the pot. Follow these tips and watch the utility bills shrink by a few dollars a month.
- Do away with preheating. You can save about $2 a month by not preheating your oven (20 cents per hour to operate electric oven; eliminate 20 30-minute preheats a month). Many cooks agree that the practice is wholly unnecessary for all but a few recipes, namely baking breads and cakes. This approach may add a few minutes to the overall cooking time, but it eliminates all that wait time on the front end.
A 10-year-old dishwasher can be made nearly as efficient as a newer model simply by knowing when and how to run it. Follow a few simple tips, and you can reduce your annual utility costs by roughly $35-$50.
- Manage the load. Most dishwashers use the same amount of water and energy whether they’re run full or half-full. You can cut your operating costs by one-third or one-half by running the machine only when it’s full. It costs about $54 to run a pre-2000 model dishwasher per year, based on government data. Proper load management can save up to $27 each year.
- Activate energy-saving features. A dishwasher’s heated dry cycle can add 15% to 50% to the appliance’s operating cost. Most machines allow the feature to be switched off (or not turned on), which can save $8-$27 per year, assuming an operating cost of $54 annually. If your dishwasher doesn’t have that flexibility, simply turn the appliance off after the final rinse and open the door.
- Use the machine. Many homeowners believe they can save water and energy by hand washing dishes. The truth is that a dishwasher requires less than one-third the water it would take to do those same dishes in the sink. By running the machine (when full), you can cut down the operating time of the hot water heater, your home’s largest energy hog. Not only will you save a buck per month, you won’t have to do the dishes.