10 ways to reduce your energy consumption in the kitchen
Wherever you look at the moment there is talk of the rising cost of living, particularly around energy bills. As we head into the coldest part of the year this is something which is incredibly worrying for most of us, with many people wondering quite simply how they will cope with bills rising exponentially.
One of the only ways we as individuals can help to combat these rising costs is by trying to reduce our overall energy consumption in the home. Without a doubt the kitchen is the most expensive room in the house to run, with the many appliances housed there totting up our spend on utilities. Although it is nigh on impossible to stop using them, there are things we can do to ensure they are running as efficiently as possible, reducing energy consumption, and ultimately bringing down costs.
Here are a few tips to consider to help with rising costs.
Load up your appliances
Appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and tumble dryers are among the most energy intensive in the house, so if you are using them, make sure you fill them to capacity. This can be a bit of a balancing act as if they’re too full they don’t always clean effectively and have to be put on again. These appliances also often have eco settings which use less energy to run, so have a look at the different settings available and have a play about.
For washing clothes, many manufacturers now recommend that you wash on a 30 degree cycle, as this is hot enough to get your garments clean (unless heavily stained) but is more environmentally (and wallet) friendly as it requires less energy.
Only use what you need
Hands up if you’re guilty of filling your kettle all the way to the top, just to make one or two cups of tea? We’re certainly guilty of this one, which is not only a waste of water, but also uses more electricity too. The more water you put in your kettle, the more electricity is required to heat it all up. Many kettles now have markers on the side to indicate the fill lines for whatever number of cups you are making, which is a really handy way of knowing how much water you’ve got in there. If your kettle doesn’t have this then simply fill up a mug with cold water, then tip it in, adding a little extra to allow for spillages and evaporation.
Turn the oven off early
Another handy tip for saving energy in the kitchen is to turn your oven off a few minutes before your food is finished cooking. As we all know, an oven stays hot for a good while after the power has been turned off, so the residual heat will continue to cook your food without using any more power. The same logic applies to anything you may be boiling on the hob, as boiling water takes quite a long time to cool down in a saucepan. This is actually a great tip for cooking poached eggs, which will cook really nicely in the pan with the heat turned off once the water has been brought to a boil. Tasty and purse-pleasing!
Upgrade your lightbulbs
A very quick and easy way to reduce your energy consumption in the kitchen, and indeed in every room of your home, is to change your light bulbs to LED bulbs. LED bulbs not only use less energy than their traditional counterparts, but they also have a longer life span, which means they need replacing far less frequently. According to sitelogiq.com the average incandescent bulb lasts about a thousand hours, whereas the lifespan of an average LED light is 50,000 hours. Depending on how you use it, its life may be as long as 100,000 hours. This means that an LED light can last anywhere from six to 12 years before you need to replace it. That is 40 times longer than an incandescent bulb.
Check your seals
Have you ever noticed that the seals on your fridge, freezer and oven doors are looking split and in poor condition? This could be adding to your energy bills. Doors are used to help maintain the temperature within the appliance, so if the seals around yours are damaged the appliances will need to use more energy to stay at the required temperature. If you’re not sure whether your seals are still doing their job or not simply place a piece of paper between the door seals and the door. If the paper moves in and out easily then the seal isn’t working effectively. Try adjusting the door first, otherwise you’ll need to replace the seals.
Defrost food before cooking
This one is very obvious once you think of it, but frozen food takes longer to cook than defrosted food, so try to plan to remove food from the freezer to defrost before cooking it. Obviously some foods need to be cooked from frozen, so we wouldn’t recommend trying this for those items, but for anything which can be cooked from fresh, this is a great way of saving a few pennies.
Choose the right hob ring
It has been said that you truly know you’re an adult when you have a favourite ring on the hob, and as much as we agree with this (bottom right, obviously), to cook your food as energy efficiently as possible you should select the one which is the right size for the thing you’re cooking. The flame, or ring should sit neatly around the bottom of the pan and should not escape around the sides. This may sound like a very small thing but by selecting an inappropriate hob ring you are just wasting energy and money.
Love your small appliances
Small kitchen appliances tend to use less energy than the cooker, so where possible they should be used instead. Microwaves are really energy efficient, as are air fryers, which can be used to cook a whole variety of items instead of an oven. Kettles too are more efficient than the hob, so if you need to boil a pan of water, boil it first in the kettle before transferring to a saucepan.
Let your dishes air dry
If you’ve got a very modern dishwasher you may have noticed that rather than using a dry cycle, the door simply pops open to let your dishes dry naturally. This is a great energy saving feature on modern appliances, which can be manually replicated on older models. Simply select a cycle or function which does not include drying and then open your dishwasher door slightly to let the air in. It doesn’t need to be fully open, but just ajar enough to promote air flow. This works especially well if it can be left overnight, which the dishes ready to be put away again the next morning.
Ditch the chunky veg
One final simple, but effective way of using less energy in your kitchen is to reduce the cooking time of vegetables by cutting them up into smaller pieces when boiling. It makes sense that the smaller something is, the less time it takes to cook, and therefore less energy is required. Another great option for vegetables is to invest in a multi-layer steamer, where you can stack multiple pots of veg on top of each other, with just one hob ring required to heat the water at the bottom. This is another great way of reducing energy consumption, with steamed veg also deemed to be more nutritious than boiled.
None of these tips individually is going to save you hundreds of pounds on your energy bills, but you will be surprised to see the difference lots of little interventions like this can make cumulatively. What’s more is that introducing these measures is not difficult, nor will it have a detrimental impact on your quality of life, so you have nothing to lose by giving them a go.
We’d love to hear any tips you might have for saving energy in the home – please do share them by leaving a comment below!
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