Tricks to Save Energy in the Kitchen

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Using the "economy" setting on your dishwasher is a way to instantly save money in the kitchen. Photo: GE Appliances

Using the “economy” setting on your dishwasher is a way to instantly save money in the kitchen. Photo: GE Appliances

Hey, what’s that you’re burning in the kitchen? It smells like … sniff, sniff … money.

OK, so maybe you can’t actually smell those dollars burning up, but the kitchen is a prime culprit when it comes to high energy usage. With so many appliances, that’s no surprise; there are ample opportunities to spend more than you need to overusing electricity.

The good news is that it’s also easy to start saving money in the kitchen, and in many cases it won’t require anything more than changing your habits — and maybe your light bulbs.

Since we brought it up, let’s start there — lighting is a big source of energy drain in the kitchen. It’s a necessity, of course, both overhead and for task lighting (carrying a hot pan around a darkened kitchen is not something we recommend), so switch to energy-efficient bulbs like LEDs if you haven’t already. They last longer and will immediately cut down on your energy consumption.

Next up, look at your appliances — not just what you’re using but how you’re using them. Chances are, unless you’ve bought new appliances in the past 10 years, you’re spending extra money to keep those appliances running. (If you’re considering buying a new appliance, look for products with the Energy Star label.)

If you’re not ready to replace your current kitchen appliance lineup, here are a few tips to minimize energy usage:

  • Keep the freezer and refrigerator doors closed as much as possible, and avoid putting hot or warm food inside, as it heats up the interior and requires extra energy to cool back down.
  • Avoid setting up your refrigerator next to the oven or boiler, as that will make it have to work harder to maintain cool temperatures inside.
  • Use the “economy” setting on your dishwasher — and only run it if you have a full load.
  • A microwave will use much less energy to heat or reheat food than a conventional oven. Also, consider an electric kettle to heat water instead of using the stove.

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