25 Tips for an Energy Efficient Kitchen - Ceramic Water Dispensers for Home & More Great Ideas!
There are so many ways that you could be wasting energy in the kitchen and not even realizing it. Did you know that by simply using a lid when cooking you can increase efficiency by about 15%! Just think of all the other small ways that you could be more efficient and ultimately save money on your utility bill.
In this article we'll give you some great tips on how you can make some very small changes to enjoy some big savings.
One of the biggest energy draws in the kitchen is the refrigerator. In most homes the fridge is the second largest user of electricity behind air conditioners.
- The Environmental Protection Agengy (EPA) recommends keeping your refrigerator temperature at 37 degrees F and your freezer at 3 degrees. You could go even further and bump your fridge temperature up to 40 degrees and the freezer to 5 degrees.
- Try to avoid opening the door as much as possible. When cooking a meal try to remove all ingredients at the same time and as quickly as you can.
- Keep your refrigerator full so there is less empty air space. When the door is opened less cold air is lost. However, make sure you don't overfill it to the point that air cannot circulate and the door can't close properly.
- Let your food cool before you place it in the refrigerator because it will otherwise warm the surrounding air making your fridge work harder.
- Try to place your refrigerator out of direct sunlight and put as much distance as you can between it and any appliances that give off heat.
- Vacuum the condenser coils of the refrigerator at least twice a year. Some websites even suggest cleaning them every three months to keep them working properly.
Lighting Your Space
Lighting can contribute to about 15% of your home's electric bill. However, this is often an overlooked area where a homeowner can effectively cut costs. You can save energy while still providing enough light to prepare and cook meals. Create ambiance and display foods at their natural color.
- Don't use halogen and incandescent bulbs. Instead use Energy Star qualified bulbs that use about ?? of the energy and last much longer.
- Open blinds and shades and use only natural lighting whenever possible.
At EnergyStar.gov you can read about somegreat ways to make every specific type of lighting in your kitchen more efficient. It includes lighting tips for under-cabinet, recessed ceiling, ceiling fixtures, pendant fixtures and architectural.
Electricity isn't the only resource you should consider saving. You can be less wasteful with your water use as well and save even more money on your monthly bills.
Washing Dishes by Hand
- Fill one side of the sink with warm soapy water and the other side with cold rinse water. If you don't have a two sided sink just fill up a wash basin instead. This will allow you to keep from running water the entire time you're washing the dishware.
- Scrape food off of dishes but try not to pre-rinse them. Let your dishwasher do the job. Soak or pre-wash only in the cases of burned-on or dried-on food.
- Don't run the cycle until the dishwasher is completely full, but be careful not to overload it or the dishes won't clean properly.
- Let your dishes dry on their own by turning off the automatic dish dryer switch. If there is no switch on your machine, just turn it off after it has run the washing cycle. If you want them to dry more quickly then towel them off or put them on a drying rack so there is more airflow for water evaporation.
- If purchasing a new unit look for a model with an internal booster heater. This will allow you to set your water heater to 120 degrees F rather than 140 degrees F.
One of the most efficient ways to cook your food is by using a microwave. A microwave uses as little as 1/5 the energy of a conventional oven and it takes less time. So whenever possible choose this use this appliance to cook your meals.
- Cut food into smaller pieces so that it will cook more throughout and then you won't have to run the timer as long.
- Placing foods on the outer edge of the turntable with cook them faster as opposed to placing them in the very center.
In cases where you need to use a conventional range or oven there are still several ways that you can save energy.
Range / Oven
- Don't open the oven door to check the progress of your meal because this makes it lose about ?? of the heat every time the door is opened.
- Don't preheat unless you're required in cooking directions. It's never required for broiling and roasting. If preheating is required then about 5 minutes should be enough.
- Try to use the least amount of burners possible when cooking meals. Consider single-dish meals like stir-fries, soups and stews.
- Always cook with pot lids on. This not only allows you to cook at a lower temperature but it is also faster.
- Measure water for cooking so you don't have to heat more than is needed.
- Consider cooking with crock pots, pressure cookers and toaster ovens. Like microwaves these appliance can use about half the energy of a range/oven.
One way to save a significant amount of energy and money is to stop drinking bottled water. Every year 30 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away! Just to put it in perspective, if tap water cost as much as the cheapest water bottle your monthly water bill would be around $9000!
- Drink water from your kitchen sink's tap. This is the most cost-effective way to dispense your water.
- If you don't like the taste of tap water then consider purchasing aceramic water dispenser for home use. This type of water dispenser doesn't use electricity and the ceramic pot is dishwasher safe. Also, the bottle can be sanitized and re-used up to 40 times before they are recycled.
There's Still More Things You Can Do
- Even when you're not using appliances they can still waste energy if they are plugged into an outlet. So unplug all your appliances when they are not in use.
- Be sure to maintain all your appliances so they are always in good working condition. Check for broken seals, torn cords or any other things that might be out of place. Ensure that they are kept clean.
- If purchasing new appliances look for units that are rated for energy efficiency. Keep your eye out for energy saving features like power-saving switches, improved insulation materials and fans that circulate air more effectively.