Saving money on the kitchen-related part of your electricity bills doesn’t mean you have to rush out and by new Energy Star appliances—though that would certainly help. In fact, there are many ways to save energy around your kitchen that don’t involve spending much (or any!) money:
Refrigerator or Freezer
- Ensure that your refrigerator or freezer is running at the proper temperature. You should aim for a range of between 37–40 degrees Fahrenheit for your refrigerator and between 0–5 degrees Fahrenheit for your freezer. If the temperatures are lower than this, you are using unnecessary energy.
- Clean the coils on the back of your refrigerator. If they are dirty, they will decrease your appliance’s efficiency. Clean coils increase the efficiency and lower the amount of electricity required to properly run the appliance. You can purchase a coil brush to clean these coils for less than $20.
Ovens and Ranges
- Cut the power early on your heating element. The heating elements on your stove stay hot long after your stove is turned off. When you turn off your stovetop heating element, you are communicating to your stove to stop providing energy to the heating element. Therefore, if you turn your heating element off exactly when you are done using it, there will be additional heat left over, as the electricity already used produces heat. With this in mind, it makes sense to turn your stovetop off roughly one or two minutes early. Plus, this helps reduce the chance you will burn yourself.
- Match the size of your pan to the burner. By doing so, you ensure that you only use exactly as much energy as necessary to heat your food. You won’t have to power your heating element for a longer duration (because your heating element is too small) or waste energy by using an unnecessarily large heating element for a small pot or pan.
- Stop preheating your oven. Many professional cooks agree that for most dishes, except breads and cakes that must rise, you don’t need to preheat before you start cooking. This can save you money because you won’t have to wait for your oven to preheat.
- Make sure that you only run your dishwasher when it is completely full. If you run your dishwasher when it is not completely full, you will have to run it more times to clean the same amount of dishes. By operating your dishwasher less frequently, you will save energy.
- Fully utilize energy-saving features on your dishwasher. For example, you might use a setting that uses more cold water instead of hot water, or try turning off the dry setting and allowing your dishes to air dry.
- Lastly, you can fully utilize off-peak hours, a time during which electricity costs are lower, to save energy with your dishwasher. Since off-peak hours generally occur during the evening, you can take advantage of these cheaper rates by running your dishwasher before you go to bed at night. This will also give your dishes a great deal of time to air dry.
For more information about saving energy in your kitchen, click here.