Thursday, April 26, 2007

Energy Efficiency in the Kitchen

One of the places in our homes that uses the most energy is the kitchen. Think about it- running water, using hot water, heating food on the stove top, baking in the oven, thawing food, chilling food, washing dishes, reheating food, making coffee, brewing tea. There are thousands of things we do each and every day that require energy. Many of us don't think about how to conserve energy in the kitchen.

Here are some tips on how to save or better use the energy in our kitchens.

~Running the dishwasher is more energy efficient than washing by hand.
~Only run full loads. A dishwasher is made to run most efficiently with a full load.
~Open the door and let the dishes air dry to save electricity.
~Make sure the dishwasher is clean. Rinse dishes in cold water before washing to avoid colgging the drain in your dishwasher. Clean the drain trap frequently.
~Run cold water with your disposal. It is actually better for the disposal and saves on heating the water.
~Rinse or soak your dishes in cold water to save on heating costs.
~Insulate your pipes. Water cools down as it sits in pipes. Insulating the pipes will slow that process and retain the heat or cold better saving you energy and water in the long run.

~Only use pans on the correct sized burner. Using a small pan on a large burner wastes energy.
~Only use your highest burner setting to bring water to a boil. After that, turn it down to the lowest setting needed to maintain the boil. The extra heat will make the water/liquid boil faster, but it won't make the food cook faster.
~Thaw foods in the refrigerator or on the counter top. Thawing in the microwave takes more energy and foods that are frozen take about 33% longer to cook.
~Cook in your microwave, toaster oven or electric skillet. They use 1/3 to 1/2 of the energy of your stove top or oven. (This is my favorite tip!)
~Cook in the dish you will serve the dish in. This will save time and energy when you are washing dishes.
~Use the window in your oven door. You'll save 25 to 50 degrees of oven temperature by doing so.
~Mix by hand. Cake batters and cookies don't take that much time to mix by hand and it will save you a lot of energy if you are a regular baker. Save that mixer for things like frosting.

~Cool foods on the counter top before storing in the refrigerator or freezer. Putting warm food in the fridge or freezer will lower the temperature inside and make the appliance run longer to bring it back up.
~Make sure your refrigerator is set at 40 degrees F and your freezer should be set at 0 degrees F. This is the most efficient settings and the safest for storage.
~A chest freezer is more energy efficient than an upright model. Cold air sinks, so an upright loses more when it is opened.
~A traditional top-bottom model refrigerator/freezer is more energy efficient than a side-by-side model. The top-bottom models use the natural flow of cold air to recycle the cold air from the freezer to cool the refrigerator portion.


Stephanie said...

Good tips!

Margaret said...

Ummmm...there is a drain I should be cleaning in the dishwasher? Ooops.