Saving Energy in the Kitchen

The largest energy users in your kitchen are the refrigerator/freezer and the range. Together they can account for approximately 12 percent of your total electric bill. You have to use them to store and prepare food for you and your family, so what can you do? You can’t stop using them and start eating out, that would get too expensive! The only thing you can do is to become “energy wise” in your kitchen.

Refrigerator/Freezer

  • Set the refrigerator temperature between 36 and 40 degrees, the freezer no colder than zero.
  • Open the doors as seldom as possible, then close them quickly.
  • Cool foods to room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator unless otherwise specified in the recipe.
  • Defrost manual refrigerators when frost is inch thick.
  • Remove contents and unplug your second refrigerator unless you really need it. (In most cases, state law requires that all unused refrigerators have the door removed or locked so children cannot open them.)
  • Keep freezers and refrigerators out of hot unvented store rooms.
  • Keep freezer full. The fuller the freezer, the less cold air you loose when you open the door.

Range

  • Select pots and pans that fit the heating units.
  • Use flat-bottomed utensils with tight-fitting lids.
  • Don’t preheat the oven unless the recipe instructs you to.
  • When broiling, it is not always necessary to preheat.
  • Avoid opening the oven door until food is cooked. Use a timer.
  • Thaw frozen foods (except vegetables) before cooking unless otherwise specified in the recipe.
  • Cook vegetables in the smallest amount of water possible. Use a tight-fitting lid to quickly bring the water to a boiling temperature, then reduce the setting to the lowest temperature to finish cooking.
  • Plan meals so several foods can cook simultaneously in the oven.
  • After cooking, turn the oven off and use stored heat to warm rolls, etc.
  • Pressure cookers save energy by shortening cooking time.

Dishwasher and Disposer

Once again, most of the energy consumed is for the hot water, so…

  • If you use only a few dishes a day, run the dishwater once a week. Washing full load of dishes uses less water than washing them all by hand.
  • If you rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, use cold water.
  • Use energy-saving cycles, if available.
  • Skip the drying cycle and let dishes air dry.
  • Use only cold water in your garbage disposer. It not only uses energy more wisely but prevents plumbing problems as well.

Microwave

  • Use when reheating leftovers, takeout foods and convenience foods.
  • Use for speedy thawing of frozen foods when time does not permit natural thawing.
  • Use in food preparation for recipes calling for melted butter or hot liquids and sauces.
  • Substitute the microwave oven for the conventional oven whenever possible in the summer because the microwave oven doesn’t heat up the kitchen.