Conserve Energy in the Kitchen

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Ever wondered if washing dishes by hand saves water and energy over using the dishwasher? Or, should you replace the fridge from 1989, even though it’s still running? We’ve got the inside information on keeping it efficient in the kitchen.

A more efficient refrigerator

Photo: Flickr/edcrowle

The fridge is the single biggest energy-consuming appliance in most households, according to the EPA. And the older it is, the higher its energy load.

On average, refrigerators bought before 1993 use twice the energy of Energy Star-qualified models and cost over $65 more to operate per year. Refrigerators bought before 1980 cost $200 more per year on average. Get an idea of how much it costs to operate your current fridge model. Use the Energy Star Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator and compare the operating cost of your current model compared to an Energy Star qualified model.

If it’s time to replace your fridge, make sure your old refrigerator gets recycled. There are more than 120 pounds of recyclable steel in the average refrigerator aged ten years or older. Recycling 120 pounds of steel saves an equivalent of almost 290 kilowatt-hours.

Quick tips for the fridge:

  • Check the internal temperature of the refrigerator and freezer. The internal temperature of the fridge should be set between 36 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer should be set at 3 degrees Fahrenheit. A small thermometer can be used to make sure the fridge and freezer aren’t colder than necessary.
  • Seal dishes stored in the fridge tightly. Moisture released from foods can make the refrigerator work harder to keep cool.
  • Going away for four weeks or longer? It’s generally recommended to unplug your fridge. However, Energy Star recommends contacting the manufacturer of your refrigerator model for detailed advice.

Next page: Conservation cooking

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