The kitchen is one of the most frequently used areas of the home, and kitchen appliances are some of the most hard-working devices in the average house. Refrigerators, for example, are the top energy-consuming appliance in US households, followed by freezers and electric ovens.
Poor maintenance and improper use of appliances won’t only lead to higher utility bills, but the greenhouse gases emitted by these devices can also cause global warming and climate change.
To save money and to do your part for the environment, it’s important to find ways to reduce your energy consumption that won’t cause inconvenience or affect your daily cooking routine. Here are some genius hacks for an energy-efficient kitchen.
Make Your Refrigerator Work Smarter
If you’re in the market for a new refrigerator, make sure to choose one that is certified to be energy efficient. But if you’re unable to make the investment right now, don’t fret. There are several things that you can do to make your current kitchen appliance work better and longer so you don’t spend too much on energy costs.
One way to do that is to keep the fridge clean inside and out. Regular cleaning can extend the lifespan of appliances, so make sure to dust the coils behind or under the fridge for better airflow and to make the compressor work less hard.
Turn off the fridge first, then dust the coils with a soft brush, then vacuum the dust and grime away. To ensure that there’s proper airflow around the appliance, move it at least three inches away from the wall. Next, clean the inside of your fridge with warm water and baking soda to remove odors and stains, and make sure to do this every three months.
Another way to make your fridge work smarter is to avoid opening the appliance multiple times. Whenever you open your fridge, the temperature inside your refrigerator rises. This makes the compressor work harder to cool the warmer air that’s just entered the fridge space. The result, of course, is increased energy use and a higher electricity bill.
To avoid opening your fridge more than you should, label all your foods properly before storing so you don’t spend too much time looking for them, especially if you’re keeping food in opaque containers.
It’s also recommended that you don’t put hot food in your fridge. Cool food on the table first until it reaches room temperature, then store it in the fridge. Lastly, to prevent the refrigerator’s compressor from working too hard, keep your appliance away from heat-generating appliances, such as the oven or stove.
Use Your Oven Efficiently
You don’t need a lot of fancy energy-saving technologies to have an energy-efficient kitchen. Simply using your oven in a more efficient way can help to reduce your energy bills. Try cooking several dishes at the same time, and use glass or ceramic pans instead of metal ones since they hold heat more efficiently than metal.
Avoid opening the oven door to check if your food’s done since heat can escape, and this will make your oven work harder. You can also turn off the oven a few minutes before your food is done cooking and just use the residual heat from the appliance to finish the cooking process.
Make it a habit to clean your oven regularly. Doing so ensures that the heat will be directed to the food you’re cooking, and not the burnt, dried up food that has accumulated at the bottom of your appliance.
You can make a paste with baking soda and water, then apply it to the inside of the oven and let it sit overnight before wiping it away. You may also use some warm vinegar to clean your oven. Simply place the vinegar in a spray bottle, then spray it inside the appliance. Let it stand for about 30 minutes before wiping it out with a damp, lint-free cloth.
Unplug Your Small Appliances
Small appliances such as toasters, microwave ovens and coffee makers may not consume as much energy as refrigerators or ovens, but leaving them plugged in overnight can have an impact on your energy bills. These devices use energy even when they’re not in use, which is why they’re sometimes called vampire appliances.
If your toaster or microwave oven has a clock or tiny lights that stay on even when they’re not in use, then that’s a clear sign that your appliance is still using energy. To create a really energy-efficient kitchen, always unplug your small appliances after every use, or plug them all into a power strip so you can turn them on and off at the same time with a single push of a button.
Your kitchen appliances accounts for a significant part of your household’s energy consumption, so using them wisely is the key to having an energy-efficient kitchen. Consider these tips to make your cooking space more energy efficient—you’ll be saving money and helping the planet at the same time.