Tips for an Energy Efficient Kitchen

In the colder winter months, the average American kitchen churns out a high amount of food, and most of it can range from soups to casseroles, to holiday feasts. While these are special and favorite parts of the season, the energy required to cook these meals represents a small but significant part of your monthly energy bill. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that cooking alone generally accounts for 4 to 5% of total home energy use, and this figure doesn’t include costs associated with refrigeration, hot water heating, and dishwashing.

However, it is possible to cook your seasonal favorites while saving energy and money by using appliances more efficiently. Here are eight tips to lower your energy usage this season:

1. Clean your oven regularly

A clean oven without built up residue on the walls will reflect the heat better, directing it towards your food.

2. Don’t peek!

Resist the urge to open the oven door when possible. Same thing applies to slow cookers. You can lose up to 30% of the heat every time you open the door of these appliances.

3. Give your furnace a break

Winter holiday parties can involve a lot of work for your stove. Turn down your furnace to compensate. The heat of the oven will often keep the temperature comfortable, and your furnace won’t have to work as hard.

4. Don’t neglect your crockpot

Smaller appliances like crockpots, microwaves, toaster ovens, air fryers or warming plates can be a good choice for smaller meals and will use less energy than your stove.

5. Double up

Whenever possible, cook more than one dish at a time in your oven. This can include cooking two parts of a meal at the same time or cooking multiple servings of food to cut down energy usage and time.

6. Loading the dishwasher before washing

Dishwashers use water and electricity efficiently when the machine is fully loaded. When possible, allow you dishes to air dry to avoid putting a strain on the machine’s heating and cooling elements, helping it last longer while reducing energy usage.

7. Make sure the fridge door seal is intact

The fridge is one of the biggest energy consumers in a home. A damaged or faulty part of the fridge can make it work harder and use more energy than necessary. To test if the seal is intact, close the door on a piece of paper and try to pull it out. If it comes out easily, it’s time to replace the gasket.

8. Use an electric kettle to boil water

Electric kettles are designed to heat water quickly, and their water-heating efficiency is generally around 80%. Kettles have an automatic shut-off feature that turns off the heating element once the water reaches a boil, saving even more energy.