Extreme Energy Savings: Part 2

I have to have my coffee in the morning, and between my wife and me we easily go through a pot each day. Coffee makers are fairly inexpensive, but unfortunately one of the bigger energy hogs in the small appliance arena.

A typical coffee maker with a glass carafe and a warming plate will draw 900 – 1200 watts of electricity while it is on, even when just keeping the coffee warm. It can add up over time to a hefty amount.

The first step to moving up the energy efficient coffee maker chain is to purchase a maker with an insulated carafe and no warming plate. You’ll still be using 1000 watts when making the coffee, but then it shuts off. Instead of 1000 watts, you’ll use about 84.

A quick note about wattage; all watts are expressed in terms of watts per hour, so a 60w light bulb will use 60 watts in an hour. Similarly, a 1000w coffee maker will use 1000 watts in an hour, but only about 84 when used for five minutes (please forgive including the math, sometimes it is necessary).

That is much better I’m sure you will agree. A thermal carafe coffee pot will not keep the coffee as hot as when you use a glass coffee pot with a warmer, but it won’t burn the coffee either.

Sadly, my wife decided that we had to have a single serve coffee maker, so my thermal carafe went to the garage sale. I’m back to where I started, as these use about 1500 watts. It does have an auto on/off timer, and that helps. I’m stuck with this one until I can come to a more efficient compromise with my wife.

The most extreme energy efficient way, and some say the tastiest way, to brew a pot of coffee is to go back to the way coffee was brewed before coffee makers were invented. Use a stovetop percolator coffee pot. Yes, these are still available and are in most cases cheaper than a standard electric coffee maker. If you have a gas stove, you will save the most money as natural gas is much cheaper than electricity. There are many brands that have a reusable filter too, so there is no need to buy paper filters.

I’m not sure about the actual energy consumption, as I am lacking the knowledge of thermodynamics to calculate the amount of therms used in comparison to the amount of watts used to produce a pot of coffee. You could always get a wood burning stove, but that is a subject for another article.

Hopefully, this information will help you decide the most efficient way for you to make your own coffee. Let me know of your own ideas (aside from giving up coffee).

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