We are continuing our series on making your home more efficient and comfortable and are now moving to the kitchen.
The kitchen is full of opportunities to save energy with the appliances making up the largest source of energy usage. Here are a few ways to improve:
Refrigerator: If it is time to replace your refrigerator, look for an ENERGY STAR certified one. These can save a considerable amount of energy/money, even up to $75 per year. Also make sure to recycle your old fridge. If replacing your fridge is not in the cards right now there are steps you can take to improve your current one.
- Keep your coils clean. Vacuum them regularly and make sure there is a gap between the back of the fridge and the wall to lessen the build-up of dust and debris on the coils.
- Minimize the number of times you open the doors. Also minimize the amount of time the kids sit there with the door open staring blankly into the fridge looking for who knows what.
- Keep the fridge full – sounds odd, but a full fridge retains cold better than an empty one.
Range: With a range, it is more about organizing your usage.
- Use the appropriate size burner for your need.
- When baking, minimize the number of times you open the door. Each time you open it, a considerable amount of heat is lost.
- Organize your task to minimize the energy usage. If you have multiple things to bake in a day, do them all at once while the oven is already pre-heated.
- Don’t have items on the cook top longer then they need to be. Things like boiling water – once it is to temperature make sure to get the items you are cooking in right away instead of wasting energy.
Dishwasher: As with the fridge, if it is time to replace, look for an ENERGY STAR certified one. ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers can reduce the amount of water you use by almost 4,000 gallons over the lifetime of the dishwasher. Other ways to optimize the dishwasher are:
- Only run the dishwasher when it is full. Sort of goes without saying but we are going to go ahead and say it.
- Keep the dishwasher’s jets clean. Clogged jets will reduce the effectiveness and cause the need to re-wash items.
- Use the cycle that you need. If a shorter cycle is all you need, use it.
Range Hood: Yes, we know many people don’t think about the range hood in the kitchen but we are a ventilation company so we think about it everyday! As with other appliances, if it is time to replace, look for an ENERGY STAR certified hood. Here are a few other ways to improve the efficiency of your hood:
- Keep it clean. Regularly clean the grease filters of the hood. Dirty and clogged filters will reduce the efficiency of the hood.
- If it has a light, replace the bulb with a LED.
- Use It! Many people are tempted to not use the range hood – mostly due to the sound level (by the way there are really quiet ones now). This is a huge mistake. When cooking, the kitchen is full of contaminates that are just not good for you. If you are not ventilating them out of the home, that means you are breathing them in.
In addition to the above items also read our last post regarding the lighting and windows, as these can also be places to improve your efficiency and comfort.
To learn more about ways to make your home more efficient, saving money and energy, visit the climate change section of this site or www.energystar.gov (Many of the facts and figures throughout this series have been taken from the ENERGY STAR website.)