If you’re not careful, you can be wasting quite a bit on energy and water in your kitchen. Buying Energy Star appliances can be helpful, but you don’t have to buy a whole new set of appliances to improve the energy efficiency of your appliances. Here are some simple ways to save energy and water in the busiest part of your house:
1. Adjust the thermostat of your fridge
It doesn’t have to be so cold inside – once you get some food from your fridge, you’re thawing or setting it on the table to be less cold so you can eat it, right? When your thermostat is set colder than it needs to, the energy consumption of your fridge increases up to 25%. Set your thermostat in the fridge to stay at around 37-40 degrees F range. For the freezer, set it to 0-5 degrees F. This will bring savings to your electric bill.
2. Avoid putting hot food into the fridge
Placing hot food or drink straight into the fridge is a big no-no! This will make the fridge work extra hard to use more energy to cool it down. Let hot food cool down on your countertop or table first before you put it in.
3. Close the fridge door shut ASAP
Avoid leaving the fridge or the freezer door open for long periods of time. Because hotter air enters the fridge when it is left open, it uses more energy to cool down the interior. Close the door as soon as you finish your business with the fridge. Also, make sure that there’s at least a 10 cm gap between the back of your fridge from the wall to let heat flow away easily, saving electricity in the long run.
4. Use your ice trays to make ice
Automatic ice makers are great, but they consume a lot of energy, as it can increase energy consumption to up to 20%, according to Energy Star. Instead of using ice makers, use ice trays and put it in your freezer. Most freezers nowadays have ice trays included.
5. Make use of the residual heat when cooking
Anyone who has bumped on a burner or an electric stove can agree that heating elements stay hot even after it has been switched off. This is true, especially on electric cookers. You can save electricity by turning off your electric stove about 5-10 minutes before your food has finished cooking because it will stay hot. Also, when you’re cooking, cover pots and pans so the food will boil much quicker. You can even make use of the steam of anything you’re cooking, like when you’re cooking pasta in a pan, you can put a colander on top of it to have a steamer to cook your vegetables.
7. Match your burner to pan
By matching burner to the pan, electricity or gas won’t be wasted by heating the kitchen rather than the food. If you place a small pan on a big burner, excess heat spreads outside the pan and disappears to thin air. Doing the reverse will also use excess energy. Using a small burner on a large pan will need a longer time to heat as compared to using a properly-sized burner. When using gas stoves, don’t let the flames lick the sides of the pot to avoid wasting excess gas.
8. Use your dishwasher full-load
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t save water and energy by hand washing all of your dishes. When you run the dishwasher in full load, it requires less than one-third the water you would use if you do the same dishes by the sink. Plus, it needs less operating time to heat the water. Using the dishwasher will not only save you water – you won’t need to do the dishes by yourself. However, it’s best to use dishwashers only when it’s full. Most of the dishwashers available use the same amount of water and energy when full even if they’re only half-full. After using your dishwasher, keep it open for a while to let the dishes air-dry.
9. Clean your oven door
Oven doors are typically made transparent so you won’t need to open it and check on your food. Every time you open the oven door, you’re letting out hot air and wasting energy (the same logic as with refrigerators). If your oven door is clean, there would be less need of opening the oven door.
10. Use your microwave
Cook and pre-heat food in the microwave wherever you can. When you need to heat up small portions of food, the microwave is more energy-efficient than using your stove or oven. Plus, it even lessens the dish washloads since you can eat the food directly from the container that you have used in the microwave oven. Just always remember to turn the microwave off and unplug after use.
11. Fix dripping taps right away
Drippy faucets may not seem like a big deal, but if it’s badly dripping, it can waste more than a liter of water per hour. That can be enough water for your showers for the whole week. If none in your household can repair a sink, ask help from a plumber you know. Meanwhile, you can put a basin on the sink temporarily to catch dripping water and use it for handwashing dishes, rinsing your veggies, watering plants or flushing the toilet.
12. Update your faucet.
Add an aerator to your kitchen faucet to increase water pressure, which can ultimately cut down your water consumption up to half. With an aerator, you no longer need to turn your faucet too much to cater to your activities when you need tap water such as washing your hands, rinsing fruits and vegetables, etc.
13. Don’t overfill your kettle.
Filling your kettle with excess water is a water and energy waster. Fill your kettle with only the right amount of water you need. Try using a cup to measure out water and add a bit of excess to allow for evaporation. Boiling more water would need more electricity or gas, only for the extra water to be cooled down and then boiled again later on.
14. Reuse starch water.
When cooking pasta, use just the right amount of water you need to boil them. If you’re cooking less, boil pasta in a smaller pot with less water. Then, reuse that starch water to water your plants – just make sure you cool it down first.
15. Defrost food in the fridge.
Instead of using water to defrost frozen food before cooking, plan ahead and take down the frozen meat from the freezer to the refrigerator a day before you plan to cook it.