From your morning smoothie to the evening meal, the kitchen is a hive of activity for most families. But that means it also consumes a healthy amount of energy.
Are you doing all you can to minimize the kilowatt-hours and water you use in the kitchen? Take a peek at this list and see what can be done to reduce your use and keep more of your hard-earned green in your pocket.
Dishwasher: Which is more energy efficient? Washing dishes by hand or running the dishwasher? Dishwashers not only reduce your annual utility bills by $40, they also don’t use much electricity, amounting to 2 percent of our annual energy costs. Still, you can save more with wise usage, such as:
- Using the energy-saving settings on your model.
- Opting for air drying over heated.
- Running the dishwasher only with a full load.
Hot water: Maintaining that ready supply of hot water amounts to 18 percent of the energy consumed in your home, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Lower the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’ll trim the costs as well as reduce the risk of injury from a hot water burn.
Oven: You already know that it saves energy to keep the oven closed as much as possible. But did you know you can get away with skipping the step of preheating the oven? Casseroles and roasted meats and veggies don’t need a preheated oven to cook and brown to perfection. Keep in mind, you should preheat for items that require precision in heat and timing, such as breads and cakes.
Refrigerator: We don’t always think to do this, but it’s important to pull the fridge out from the wall a couple times a year, and clear the dust and grime from the coils. This will help the refrigerator remove heat from inside the unit more efficiently. (You may need to invest in a small brush designed for cleaning metal coils.)
Also, keep the temperature set at 35-38 degrees F. (If you don’t have one of those numbered temperature adjusters, invest in a refrigerator thermometer.)
Speaking of the fridge, do you have a spare unit in the garage? If your garage is hot in the summer, that means your cooling unit is working extra hard. When you can, manage with one fridge and unplug it. If you must have the extra, move it someplace cooler, such as the basement.
Heat is on: When it’s blazing hot, using the oven will raise the temperature of your home, making your air conditioner work longer and harder. Cut down on the residual heat and opt for the microwave oven or slow-cooker. Or, step outside and fire up the grill.
The kitchen is probably one of the most popular rooms in your house, and reducing your energy usage here might lead to saving on your energy bill.