When shopping for new kitchen furniture and appliances people want products that look good, do the job they are supposed to, and which can be purchased at a price reflective of their worth.
But what about the cost of operating kitchen goods and appliances once installed? By this I mean the energy costs of gas and/or electricity needed for kitchen appliances to operate.
When choosing appliances it can prove highly beneficial to select products with a good energy rating, signifying they are energy saving. Not only is this better for the environment, but energy saving goods can also save quite significantly on cost. You can look up products and find recommendations and reviews for energy saving appliances such as extractors, ovens and fridge freezers at websites like Which or Sust-it.
But choosing energy saving appliances is not all you can do to keep your kitchen’s energy use to a minimum! That said, here are 10 ways in which you can reduce energy use within your kitchen on an ongoing basis and continue to save money on your bills!
Energy Saving Tip 1: Step away from the oven!
Ovens are generally becoming more energy efficient; yet opening the door during cooking to check on your food still means losing approximately 10% of the heat- every time you do it! Whilst letting the heat out might make your kitchen nice and toasty, it also increases the required cooking time. This in turn uses more energy, driving up the cost of your bill.
The obvious solution for this is to not open the door! Instead you should maintain a clean oven door between use of the oven. Not only will this let you check on your meal through the glass, but a clean oven is more efficient, and more hygienic. This will also allow you to turn off the oven 5-10 minutes before the scheduled time, and the heat within will still be sufficient to finish cooking your meal. (The door should also be tightly sealed to prevent heat loss, and more importantly as a safety precaution to prevent any gas escaping. If you are concerned about this within an existing oven then you should cease use immediately and contact your appliance supplier).
Energy Saving Tip 2: Ensure the right cookware
Still on the subject of ovens, the type of dishes and trays you use during cooking can also affect how much energy is used. Sometimes only a metal tray will do but they tend to lose heat very quickly.
As an alternative and where appropriate, Pyrex and ceramic dishes retain heat very well so can be used at a lower cooking temperate, or else reduce the cooking time altogether. Similarly if using a hob, you can improve energy use through using the correct size of pan for your ingredients, and by keeping the lid on during cooking.
Energy Saving Tip 3: Defrost your freezer
It makes sense that a heavily frosted freezer would have to work much harder to keep cold than a frost-free model. It therefore pays to regularly defrost and maintain your freezer! Whilst not a particularly fun job, the upside is this can save as much as £100 per year on energy bills.
Energy Saving Tip 4: A full wash at lower temperatures
Of course reducing the number of cycles they undergo is the main way in which you can lessen the cost of operating your washing machine and dishwasher, but second to this is ensuring they run with a full load. A half load uses the same amount of water yet more energy than when the appliance is full. A reduced temperature will reduce energy use, and a washing machine set to 30 degrees will wash just as well as at higher temperatures. Many new washing machine and dishwasher models now have an inbuilt ‘Eco’ energy saving setting for this very purpose. Regularly cleaning the filters on kitchen appliances such as these will also help maintain their energy efficiency.
Energy Saving Tip 5: Only use what you need
Though they are initially more costly, instant hot water taps prove more energy efficient long term than kettles. But if a hot water tap isn’t an option then you can reduce energy use by only filling the kettle with as much water as you need every time you boil it.
Energy Saving Tip 6: Stock your fridge!
Whenever you open your fridge door you allow heat to flow from the kitchen into the fridge space. This occurs more quickly if you have an empty fridge, and it requires more energy for the fridge to return to its optimum temperature (which is ideal between 3ºC and 5ºC). If you prefer your fridge a little on the lean size then you can always fill it with reusable bottles of water to achieve the same effect (and which also come in handy in the event of a nasty hangover!)
Energy Saving Tip 7: Switch off the Standby
Appliances such as microwaves, washing machines and dishwashers left on standby will usually still use energy, particularly in maintaining lights and displays. Turning them off at the plug when not in use is proven to help keep energy costs down. Of course this is not recommended for continually used appliances such as a fridge and freezer, and it is advisable to check the instructions for any appliance you are unsure of. But the average household energy saving for turning off all appliances rather than leaving them on standby is typically between £45 and £80 a year.
Energy Saving Tip 8: Lighten up!
Lighting plays a key role in any kitchen and is important for enabling safe and practical kitchen use, as well as for effecting an appealing décor and ambience. So this might mean a number of lighting options within your kitchen, all of which must be maintained. Tungsten bulbs have typically been used for kitchen lighting but are increasingly being replaced by more energy efficient bulbs, including modern and stylish LED spotlights. Thee are available in a variety of sizes but crucially are bright enough for the kitchen setting, whilst saving on energy. Aside from bulb choice, remembering to switch off lights when not in use is the main way you can reduce the amount of energy your kitchen lights use.
Energy Saving Tip 9: Use a washing up bowl
Whilst most kitchens now have a dishwasher there are often still dishes or glassware that are either too large, or else not dishwasher-proof, and so still require washing by hand. If this is the case then, filling a bowl or sink proves much more energy and cost efficient during washing up, rather than leaving a hot tap running throughout.
Energy Saving Tip 10: Go easy on the Tumbledryer
Whilst tumble dryers are incredibly useful for people with no outside space, or for pretty much everyone during winter, they use up a lot of electricity. This in turn drives up the cost of energy bills. Investing in a drying rack will reduce the need for a tumble dryer (but it helps to remember and tidy it away whenever you have guests over!) If this doesn’t suit then ensure you have a full load when using a tumble dryer and if possible add an extra spin to the wash cycle. This should remove as much as a pint of water in advance of the dry cycle, meaning your clothes will dry faster and you won’t need to operate the dryer for as long. As with the washing machine and dishwasher you should check the filter regularly to keep it clean and lint free.
We hope you found this blog post helpful!
Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like further information on energy saving within the kitchen.