A considerable portion of your energy costs are cooked up in the kitchen, it’s no surprise since cooking is generally a daily task.
Luckily, there are so many options when it comes to lowering how much you spend in the kitchen. From using energy efficient appliances to simply making a few minor changes to your cooking habits.
Remember, some of these tips can be used throughout the whole house saving you hundreds in the long run.
Guess which appliance uses the most energy, here’s a clue - it’s big and cold. Working around the clock to keep your food and drinks fresh and cool, your fridge is the biggest guzzler of energy in the kitchen. Plus, the older it is, the worse it gets.
You might want to have a quick look at the manufacture date on your fridge, if it’s before 2009 it’s likely to use up to 40% more than a newer one. Investing in a new refrigerator might seem like a big ask, but in the long run it’s a worthy investment.
The yearly cost of running your fridge or freezer can be between $171.50 - $474.60, depending on the size, the manufacturing year plus a few of the factors mentioned below.
Your fridge needs room to breathe
- Keep some space around your fridge, try to allow at least 1 inch at the back and top for ventilation.
- Try not to pack your fridge to the brim, leave some room for cold air to circulate but don’t leave it too empty either. An empty fridge uses the same amount of energy but has less items to keep cool.
- Keep the fridge away from heat sources, like heaters or windows with a lot of direct sunlight.
Clean the condenser coils
- When you are cleaning your home, remember to give them a bit of a vacuum so they continue to work properly.
Make sure the door is sealed tight
- You know it’s time to change your fridge seal if you place a thin piece of paper between the seal and the door as you close it and it falls out with no resistance.
- Keep your fridge clean, check for trapped bits of food and defects.
Set your fridge and freezer to the right temperature
- The fresh food compartment should be between 3 and 4°C.
- The Freezer should be at -18°C.
Extra tips and tricks
- You know when you’re hungry and you keep opening and closing the fridge, don’t do it. Those sneak peaks cause the temperature to change and more energy is needed to bring it back to the right level.
- Going on holiday? Avoid buying more food before you leave, empty the fridge, unplug it and leave the door open. Some new models even have an energy saving 'holiday' setting.
- The “old fridge in the garage” trick might be costing you. The garage is generally quite warm, causing the fridge to use even more power to cope plus it’s most likely not the most energy efficient model.
The next offenders in the kitchen are your cooking appliances, the microwave, oven, toaster and so on. Even if you’re using energy efficient appliances, the average cost of those delicious meals could be costing you over $1,000 per year.
So, let’s look at some easy ways to reduce your costs without having to sacrifice on any late night toasted cheese sandwiches.
- When cooking or heating up food, just think the smaller the better. For example a microwave is better than an oven, a toaster better than the oven grill and so on.
- When defrosting food, put it in the fridge from the freezer the day before so it can thaw there rather than using a microwave.
- Just like the refrigerator, make sure the oven seals are working as they should be and clean it regularly.
- When preheating the oven, don’t do it too early you’ll waste energy.
- It might be tempting to check on that chocolate cake you having baking but when using the oven, don't open and close the door. Try using a timer or switching on the oven light to have a look with the door closed.
- To save energy and more importantly be safe, switch your cooktop off as soon as you’ve finished using it.
- If you have a big pot, use a bigger cooktop and vise versa.
- Use lids to build up heat and cook faster
To wrap it up
The kitchen is the heart of the home and we spend a big portion of our time there. By making a few small changes you could stop “burning” unnecessary energy, without sacrificing on any delicious dinners.