These days, nearly everyone is looking for ways to save money and to help the environment. One of the best ways we can do this is to reduce the amount of energy we use in our daily lives.
Kitchens, because of their frequent use and the many appliances, are among the most energy-consuming areas of our homes.
In fact, refrigeration alone makes up of 5% of total energy consumption in U.S. houdeholds!
Fortunately, there is a lot that we can do to help make our kitchens more energy-efficient. In this article, I go over fifteen different things that can be done to conserve electricity, gas and water in the kitchen.
1. Adequately Ventilate Your Refrigerator
Refrigerators are one of the biggest users of electricity in the entire house, and if they are not ventilated properly, they will use more power than necessary.
Refrigerator manufacturers recommend that you have at least three inches of clearance between the rear of your fridge and what is behind it. This helps your refrigerator operate more efficiently, which saves electricity and money on your bill.
Moreover, this is one place where good organization is so important. Some people store items such as brooms and mops behind their refrigerators, but this gets in the way of the recommended clearance. Organize and store items in other places to get the most out of your fridge.
2. Allow Food to Cool Down Before Refrigerating It
Putting hot leftovers and other food in your refrigerator forces the appliance to work overtime to keep things cool. Allowing food to cool down before refrigerating it means that your fridge will use less electricity to bring down your food’s temperature for safe storage.
3. Clean Refrigerator Coils
The condensing coils attached to the rear or bottom of your refrigerator are what creates the cool temperatures. Dust accumulation on these coils will reduce the efficiency of the appliance and increase the cost to run it.
The fix? Simple: clean the coils every six months or so and you will reap the savings.
4. Pay Attention to the Thermostat on Your Fridge and Freezer
Set the thermostat on your fridge and freezer too low, and you will waste electricity. To save energy, freezer thermostats should be set between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit, and refrigerator thermostats should be set between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most refrigerators will have a label telling you the optimal temperature. Just follow the label, and you usually won’t go wrong!
5. Organize Your Refrigerator
Good organization helps you maximize efficiency, and this is particularly true when it comes to your refrigerator.
When food is placed in the fridge haphazardly, it is more likely to get overlooked when you are cooking and then go bad before it is used. A neatly organized refrigerator enables you to see the food, and it gives you room to do things such as thaw frozen goods in the fridge instead of on the counter.
Thawing foods in the fridge will help your refrigerator operate as a more energy-efficient appliance because frozen food adds cold air to the fridge as it thaws, and makes the fridge work less hard to keep things cool.
6. Stock Your Freezer
A freezer with a lot of empty space actually wastes more power than one that is full.
Having only a few frozen items in the freezer means that the appliance has to do more of the work to keep things cold. When your freezer is full, the frozen items help keep each other cold and the freezer does not have to switch on as often.
Good organization of your freezer is essential for keeping it well stocked and for saving money and power. Do not just throw things in the freezer. Instead, try to arrange them so that they stack neatly and touch one another while still leaving some space for air to circulate.
You can also label items so that you can find them more easily, and so you do not have to dig through the freezer and make it a mess.
7. Use the Right Size Pots and Pans
Failing to use the right size pots and pans on your stove’s burners creates an energy-wasting scenario. A small pan on a large burner and a large pan on a small burner do not use power efficiently. The diameter of your pots and pans should not be much larger or smaller than the burners on which they are placed.
This is another area where organization can help you. Sometime,s we use pots and pans of the wrong size because we do not want to dig through all of our cookware to find the appropriate piece. A well-organized drawer or cabinet for your pots and pans will make it easier to match the right cookware to the proper burner.
8. Boil Water More Efficiently
If you want to save power while doing something as simple as boiling water, all you have to do is put a lid on the pot or pan while it is heating. A covered pot or pan heats up more quickly, using less electricity or gas to get the water to a boil.
9. Clean Your Stove Burners
Dirty stove burners are not only an eyesore, but they also force your stove to use more power to heat up food.
The darkened, greasy areas that get stuck on a stovetop absorb much of the heat coming from the stove, meaning more power is needed to heat up what you’re actually trying to heat (i.e. your pots and pans).
Keep these areas clean, and your stove will use gas or electricity more efficiently.
10. Use the Oven Window
It is tempting to open the oven door to check how your food is cooking. However, heat escapes every time the oven door is opened, and the oven has to burn through more energy in order to keep the proper cooking temperature.
You can prevent this heat loss by looking through the window of your oven door instead of opening it. A clean window and a functioning oven light can help you keep an eye on your food without losing heat.
11. Avoid Preheating When Possible
Except when you are baking, preheating your oven for cooking is not actually necessary. All it does is waste more power!
In most cases, if you are not baking a cake, cookies, bread or something similar, you can put your food in the oven even before it reaches the prescribed cooking temperature. This will add a few extra minutes to your cooking time, but you can enjoy more energy-efficient cooking!
12. Skip the Handwashing of Dishes
Did you know that a full dishwasher uses less water than hand washing the dishes?
Run full loads in your dishwasher and you will not only save water, but also the time it takes to stand at the sink and wash dishes by hand.
13. Turn Off the Dryer on Your Dishwasher
Your dishwasher will consume more power if you use its drying feature. Turn this feature off before you run the load of dishes. Then, after the dishes are washed, dry your plates, cups and other items by hand.
This saves energy, and you get to reap the rewards of a lower bill.
14. Repair Leaking Faucets
Faucets that drip and leak waste water, which increases your water bill. Even worse, when they leak hot water, they are also wasting the precious electricity or gas used to heat the water.
Get your faucets repaired in order to save power, water and money. A small investment in faucet repair can mean big savings.
15. Energy-Efficient Appliances Are a Must
Manufacturers continue to improve the efficiency of the appliances they produce, so if your refrigerator, dishwasher, oven or stove is several years old, higher efficiency options are likely available.
If you decide it is time to buy new appliances, look for a good Energy Star rating on the appliance. The appliance should also have stickers that indicate how much it will cost to run in a year.
These were 15 tips to conserve energy (and money) in your kitchen.
Do you have any other tips to share? Feel free to let us know in the comments below, and share this article to help others save more energy!
About The Author: Laura
Laura is a stay at home mom with three kids. She is constantly focused on organizing her home and finding new ways to decorate it. In her spare time she likes writing.