With energy bills seemingly going up all the time and some providers charging more than others, there comes a time when we think ‘enough is enough’ and resolve to do something about it. Some people simply opt to literally spend less by not having as many appliances in their home turned on like televisions and lights. There has to be a way to save money on electricity bills without sacrificing other things though, surely?
Well, yes there is. Did you know that the kitchen is one of the biggest culprits in the energy usage stakes? There are a lot of appliances in there, more than any other room, and they are all energy leeches. So to help save money, as well as the environment, here’s our rundown on how to save energy in your kitchen.
Get clever when cooking
Nobody is telling you how to cook, but you can save quite lots of money over a year if you make just a few small changes. Covering pans, for example, will enable the water or other liquid to come to the boil much faster because a lot less heat is escaping into the air. Other little things related to this include using less water to boil vegetables as chances are you are using much more than you need to. A kettle generally uses less energy than a stove top too, so boil your water in that first before adding it to the pan.
If you use an electric hob you the heat down or off a few minutes before you need to. Electric hobs are different, as they take time to get cooler and can still be cooked on for up to 5 minutes after the hob has actually been turned off! Ovens work in a similar way, keeping food hot for around ten minutes until you need it. You can also save by using boiled kettle or pan water for another use- a colander over a pan of cooking rice or pasta makes for a fantastic vegetable steamer.
Be cool with your fridge
Everything that goes into your fridge should already be cold – room temperature at the very most. When hot food goes into a fridge more energy is used to maintain its proper operating temperature. Of course, this also applies to the freezer. Fridge and freezer doors should always be closed when not being used for the exact same reasons. A fridge used properly will not only last longer, but it will also help save you energy and money.
Save washing machine wastage
Clothes need to be washed, that’s just one of those things that have to be done no matter how tedious it can sometimes be- or how much energy it consumes. Washing smart is just another adjustment in learning how to save energy in the kitchen. When it comes to energy consumption, the washing machine and clothes dryer are the two hungriest appliances that you can own. How much are your monthly energy bills? It’s a safe bet that these two are responsible for much of the electricity bill.
Try to only use it if it is full, or your machine may even half a setting just for a half load. Your dryer may not always need to be used either. If you are using radiators anyway, put your washing over them or use a clothes maiden. Failing that, and if the weather allows, you can always hang everything outside to dry on a washing line. This is an incredibly efficient way of drying your clothes and linen – not to mention that everything always smells better when dried outside in the sunshine!
If you really want to know how much electricity you are burning through, the Centre for Sustainable Energy may have some sobering news for you. Around 90% of washing machine energy consumption is spent on warming up the water when using even a 30 degree wash, did you know that? You do now, so avoid using the hotter wash cycles unless absolutely necessary and use detergents that are designed for low temperatures.
Plug that leak!
The occasional drip-drop of a tap doesn’t usually concern us aside from being unnaturally annoying, but you might be surprised at how much water is wasted. For one dripping tap in the home, it is estimated that a litre an hour could be literally disappearing down the drain. To put that into some perspective, 1 litre an hour could fill an average sized bathtub at the end of the week. If the dripping tap happens to be the hot water tap, then it isn’t just the water being wasted.
Switch your supplier
Really want to know how to save energy in your kitchen? Switch your supplier. It really is that simple and since there are a lot of different in Britain, all competing against each other, consumers are spoilt for choice. It is this abundance of choice that helps to pit suppliers against each other, competing to offer the best service at the lowest cost to themselves and their customers. Take a look at My Energy to see how to save money on your energy bills. All that’s needed is to enter your postcode, answer a few simple questions about your providers and energy consumption, and you’ll be presented with a number of options that will save you money in no time at all.
Treat your oven door as the window it is meant to be
The glass in your oven door is there for a specific purpose and it is meant to be used in a similar manner to a window. Every single time that you have to open the door to check on the progress of your dinnertime creation, you are allowing the hot air to escape. This is in turn is wasting precious energy and, over the course of a year, keeps your bills higher than they need to be. Always keep the glass door clean so that you can see what is going on inside without having to open it up every time.
Only put in the kettle what you plan to get out
Although a kettle does not use very much energy, it can still be a wasteful exercise if it is overfilled. Did you know, for instance, that the energy used to boil an unnecessarily overfilled kettle, over a week, is enough to provide power to your TV for 24 hours? It may not seem much, but what if every home in the country did that? Who knew that boiling a kettle could have such an energy impact! Only boil what you are going to use, allowing for evaporation. Of course, if your kettle uses an element, then that has to be fully submerged also.
Use appliances which are energy-efficient
Appliances can be manufactured to use energy more efficiently, and it is this kind of appliance that you need to be on the lookout for. In the EU, the United Kingdom included, all white goods (kitchen) appliances have to have an energy rating. There will be a sticker somewhere on the appliance or the box it came in showing the efficiency, so keep an eye out for it.
The more efficient an appliance is, the closer its rating to ‘A’ will be. The grades are also colour coded – from red to green. Naturally, the more green the rating, the better. To learn more about appliances which are energy efficient, the Energy Saving Trust has lots of great information.
Make use of the microwave more often
Using a microwave could be more helpful than you realise. When heating up smaller amounts of food, using the microwave is much energy-friendly than switching on the stove or oven. A stove hob can take a few minutes to get food up to the right temperature, and the oven can be even slower – burning through energy the whole time. A microwave, by contrast, can have the job done in seconds. Want to know how to save energy in your kitchen while you are cooking or reheating? It’s quite simple- use a microwave.
Not using it? Switch it off
Don’t be tempted to leave things on standby – not even the microwave because do you really need the clock to be accurate? Anything that is accidentally or purposefully left switched on standby is still chewing away at your costly energy supply, upping your usage and your bills. You really should make a point of turning everything off and not just in the kitchen either; set top boxes, televisions, computers, consoles, lights in rooms not being used, the list goes on. Simply flick the switch and save yourself a small fortune over the course of a year.
Hopefully these quick and easy tips will have shown you how to save energy in your kitchen with minimal effort, and you can apply some of these to other rooms of your home too. If you find that you are still paying more than you probably should be, then visit MyEnergy to switch your energy providers– it may well be the one-stop solution that you have been searching for all this time. Oh, don’t forget to turn out the light when you are done with this room.