The rising cost of energy and the failing quality of our environment makes it important for all of us to do what we can to conserve energy. Most people have already taken the steps to improve the energy efficiency of their homes by adding extra insulation
and replacing old drafty windows with new energy efficient double paned windows. However, while we have targeted attics, crawl spaces, living areas and the utility room, there is one room that seems to be neglected more than the others, the kitchen.
Energy Hogs in the Kitchen
The kitchen, especially older kitchens, is filled with energy hogs. The refrigerator, the myriad of electric appliance and the electric range all can drain huge quantities of energy, even if you have so-called “energy efficient” appliances. Refrigerators tend to drain a lot of energy because they are trying to keep its interior cold even though it is situated in a room than can get extra hot, especially when you are baking and cooking. They also use a lot of energy because people continue to open and close the door, letting cold out and heat in. This forces the cooler to work overtime, especially when the kids are home. Older refrigerators can consume added energy when their door seals break down and tear, when their coolant runs low and when the insulated coating on their cords develops breaks and gaps.
The electric range, inherently, isn’t an energy hog, however, as a range ages, its efficiency decreases. Faulty wires, worn power cords and worn out heating elements can all lead to the consumption of extra energy. The insulation of your electric range can also influence how much energy it uses. If the insulation has been breached because of corrosion or heat damage, then it will take more energy to keep the interior of the stove at the right temperature.
The number of plug in appliances in your kitchen can also create an energy over-consumption. Appliances that are plugged in all the time consume energy, even when they are not in use. While they may not drain a lot of energy per hour, when you add up the number of appliances that are plugged in 24/7, i.e. your microwave, refrigerator, oven, blender, radio. clocks, choppers, etc., you can easily see how much energy can be consumed by these items.
Saving Energy in Your Kitchen
While there are certain things you can’t change when it comes to energy consumption in your kitchen, there are several ways to cut back on the amount of wasted energy that is consumed in your kitchen.
1. Replace old appliances with energy efficient appliances. If you don’t have energy efficient appliance then now is the time to upgrade. If you can’t afford a new refrigerator or stove right now, replace worn out parts like power cords, coolant, heating elements and door seals.
2. Reduce the size of your refrigerator. If you don’t need all the space in your refrigerator then consider downsizing. Smaller refrigerators use less energy. By scaling down your fridge you will also free up more space in your kitchen that you can use for something else like counter space, storage or dining.
3. Keep appliances that are not in use unplugged. While it is impractical to unplug your range and refrigerator, you can unplug your microwave, blenders and other smaller appliances when they are not in use.
4. Position your refrigerator in the coolest area of your kitchen. If your kitchen is located next to or over your furnace room, position your refrigerator as far away from the heat source as possible. This will reduce how much energy the refrigerator uses to keep things cold.
5. Schedule your cooking. Most of the energy wasted when cooking is the preheating of your oven. To reduce how much energy you use during a week for cooking, try to schedule all your baking for one or two days. For example, prepare all your meals on Sunday and then freeze individual portions, or family portions. Then all you have to do is pop them in the microwave for a few minutes when you are ready to eat them.