The kitchen uses a lot of energy. With so many appliances housed and tasks performed in this room, it can be difficult to find ways of being energy efficient. We've compiled a few ways of cutting down on energy use in three common kitchen appliance: the dishwasher, refrigerator, and stove. Check out these easy ways of creating an energy efficient kitchen - and saving yourself a little money, too!
Your dishwasher’s manual may include recommendations for water temperature and may also give instructions on setting a lower temperature. A lower temperature will allow the dishwasher and water heater to use less energy.
Don’t worry about pre-washing or soaking dishes before putting them in the dishwasher; doing so is generally only recommended when food has burned or dried onto dishes. Rather, scrape off any larger bits of food and let the dishwasher do the rest. If you’re going to use the energy and water to run the appliance, let it do the work as well!
Make sure the dishwasher is full – but not overloaded – before running it. Too empty, and you’re wasting water and energy. Too full, and the dishes won’t get as clean.
The rinse hold setting on dishwashers using between 3 and 7 gallons of hot water with each use 😲 Avoid using this setting unless totally necessary.
Skip the heated dry setting and opt for air drying instead. For a faster air dry, prop the door open just a bit once the dishes are clean.
Refrigerator and Freezer
Keep your refrigerator at 35°- 38°F and your freezer at 0° F for optimal safe food storage and energy usage. (Source: FDA)
Test the seals of freezer and refrigerator doors. One way to do this is by placing a piece of paper in the door and closing the door on it, so it’s half in and half out. Try pulling the paper out; if it comes out easily you may need to adjust the latch, replace the seal, or even consider getting a new unit altogether if those fixes don’t work.
Adequately cover foods and liquids. Moisture from uncovered containers will release moisture into the refrigerator, which in turn causes the compressor to work harder.
If your appliance does not automatically defrost, be sure to regularly do this manually. Built-up frost and decrease the energy efficiency. A good rule of thumb is to not let frost accumulate to more than one-quarter on an inch.
Stove and Oven
Flames in natural gas appliances should be blue, rather than yellow – yellow is an indication that the gas is not burning efficiently and that an adjustment is needed. If you notice yellow flames, contact either your gas company or the manufacturer of your appliance.
Clean burners and reflectors on the stovetop. Doing this will allow heat the reflect better, which will save energy.
Boil water with an electric kettle, covered kettle or pan. Because it will boil faster in will use less energy.
Use the burner of the same size as your pot or pan. Dispersing heat from a burner that’s larger than you need wastes energy.
Energy.gov offers a calculator for estimating how much energy your appliances are using, you can find it here: Estimating Appliance and Home Electronic Energy Use. Make the most of your home by finding ways to be energy efficient!