Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Energy Efficiency in Your Kitchen

You all know that we do whatever needs to be done to keep my electric and natural gas bills  as low as possible. One of the ways we do this is by being energy efficient in the kitchen.

When we had this house built, the builder included a standard energy star electric dishwasher. I wanted an energy efficient energy star dishwasher with a number of choices to use. So we had a Bosch installed which is extremely quiet. The contractors model dishwasher I sold on Craigslist. My Bosch does not dry the dishes. So when the dishwasher is done, I leave the door ajar until they are dry and then empty it. This saves a lot of money over dishwashers that dry them. I love my Bosch. People often ask if it is cheaper to use a dishwasher or hand wash and dry the dishes. Most experts will tell you that if you only run a full dishwasher, it is more economical than doing the dishes by hand. I have only found one way that it might ( ?) be cheaper. That is if you only fill the sink a few inches with hot soapy water. Then wash all of the dishes. Fill the sink with rinse water and rinse all at once. Don't ever let the water run down the sink while you are washing dishes. You are throwing away your hot water which is costing you to heat. Perhaps in April, I will do an experiment to see if hand washing the way I told you saves us any energy. I also save money in the dishwasher by using homemade dish detergent and vinegar for the rinse.

Your refrigerator uses the most amount of electricity in your kitchen. Make sure that you have your settings correct. Keep your refrigerator part set to  between 36-40 degrees. Keep the freezer set between 0-5 degrees. If you have coils on the back  or bottom of your fridge, vacuum them to keep the dust off so they can  work efficiently. If your refrigerator is not energy star rated, it is most likely  old and costing a fortune in electricity.  Think about replacing it with a new energy star model. Don't open your fridge and stand there looking for something to eat. Know what you want to  take out before you open the door. A full but not tightly packed  refrigerator is more efficient. Always cover food. Always cool your cooked food down before you put it in the refrigerator. Move your weeks worth of frozen food to the refrigerator once a week so that you are not opening the freezer every day.

Small appliances are usually more efficient than using your stove top or oven. We use our toaster oven for most foods that need roasting or baking. We use our electric pressure cooker as often as we can for meals because it is the most efficient appliance. If not those, then we use the crock pot. If we do use our gas oven, we use the convection feature to cut the time needed down by 25%. When we do use the oven, we cook more than one food item in it at a time. We use glass or ceramic pans so  that we can lower the temperature by 25 degrees. We avoid opening the oven door while foods are cooking. It is actually much more energy efficient to bake in your crock pot or microwave than the oven.

When we use our stove top which is rare, we use flat bottomed pans and size them to the size of the burners. We always cover the pans. 

We turn burners and the oven off before items are done because they will continue to cook. When we cook pasta we bring our water to a boil, put the pasta in, put the cover on and then let it sit for 15-20 minutes. It comes out perfect every time. We always cook rice in our rice cooker or pressure cooker.

I have a computer and monitor in my kitchen. I keep it off when not in use. I do the same with our Keurig.

If you have a garbage disposal, always use cold water while running it. Put a flow restricter in your kitchen faucet to cut down on the amount of hot  water you are using. 

We have a lot of lighting in our kitchen. All of the bulbs we had have been replaced with LED's.  We have done this not only in our kitchen but inside and outside our home.  It is saving us many dollars monthly.

We have found it is more energy efficient to eat a lot of salads that don't need to be cooked instead of cooking meals. If you are a vegetarian, you are saving a fortune by not having to roast meats. We also make more than one meal at a time to save on energy. 

Our stove top and oven are a decoration from May until October. Why heat the house up in the summer?
We cook outdoors on the grill or use our small appliances on the patio.

So think about how you can save that energy before you do anything in the kitchen. It will pay off.

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