The kitchen is one of the most used areas of the house. Naturally, it uses a lot of energy. If you have shifted to solar energy as your power source or if you are currently thinking about it, then it’s time to practice reducing your energy consumption in the kitchen. Here are some energy saving tips for the food factory of your home.
Energy Saving Tip #1: Change Your Kitchen Tools
Heat-producing appliances make use of a lot of power. If you are using electric stove, then you should think about switching to another electric stove with low wattage. We highly recommend you switch to gas or wood burning stoves.
If you have patience, you can also make use of solar cookers or solar ovens that make use of the sun to cook the food. Unlike popular belief, it is not the heat from the sun that cooks the food; rather it’s the infrared light rays that are captured in the cooker. These light rays make the food’s particles vibrate so fast, heating it up in the process.
However, there is a learning curve to using solar cookers. Because of the weather conditions, you can expect fluctuating temperatures. And because there is a need to absorb light first in order to heat the food up, it generally takes two to three times longer than cooking food in a regular stove or oven.
But when you have finally get the hang of it, cooking food using a solar cooker will save you a lot of money and energy. Depending on the type and the brand, solar cookers can range from $50 to $200. If you are into DIY, you can make a DIY solar cooker for as little as $10.
You can still use a refrigerator to store your food if you are using solar power in your home, but use it wisely. A refrigerator takes the bulk of energy consumption in the kitchen, so switch to a right-size refrigerator that fits your needs. You might need to sell that industrial-type fridge if you are looking to downsize your energy usage.
Energy Saving Tip #2: Match Your Cookware
Whether you are using a solar cooker, a gas stove, a wood burning stove or an electric one, matching the cookware to your appliance will reduce energy consumption. Let’s say for example you are using an electric stove. Choose a pan that matches the size of the burner. Using a small pan for a big burner and a big pan for a small burner will both consume more energy.
If you are using a solar cooker, use dark-colored and non-shiny ones. Shiny cookware will only reflect the light absorbed by the solar cooker, losing energy and delaying the cooking time in the process.
Energy Saving Tip #3: Store Your Food Properly
Proper food storage is always important. For instance, don’t place hot or warm food immediately inside your fridge. Allow it to cool off by air first. Also, keep an inventory of what you keep in your fridge. Regularly check if some stuff need to be thrown away. Refrigerators work best when filled 3/4 of its capacity. Maintaining 3/4 capacity assures that the appliance is not overcrowded, but at the same time is working efficiently. An empty or nearly empty fridge wastes energy.
Stocking up on canned goods is not a bad idea as well. But instead of using high-powered can openers, you can utilize manual crank can openers or battery powered ones. Since you will be using this tool regularly and for a long, long time, make sure you choose one that is included in the top can openers available today.
Energy Saving Tip #4: Improve Your Cooking Techniques
Here are some smart cooking techniques:
- Use a lid. Putting a lid on your pot prevents heat from escaping. Because of this, it cooks food or boils water quicker, or with less input heat from your stove.
- Don’t use too much water. Use just the sufficient amount of water needed to cook your food. Some people tend to place too much water and end up having to boil it longer so the excess water can evaporate — this wastes energy.
- Turn off the heat at least two minutes before your food is cooked. The built-up heat inside will take care of the remaining heat necessary to cook your food to perfection. However, do not open the lid else the heat will easily slip away.
Energy Saving Tip #5: Proper Refrigerator Maintenance
If your fridge has coils in the back or at the bottom, make sure to regularly check and clean it up. If dirt has accumulated around the condenser coils, the appliance works extra hard to cool up. Furthermore, make sure that there is enough space between the back of your refrigerator and the wall. This gap is necessary to allow air to flow freely.
Know when it’s time to defrost. A build-up of ice around the walls of the freezer will reduce the refrigerator’s efficiency. When the ice has reached a thickness of about a quarter of an inch, it’s time.
Energy Saving Tip #6: Minimize the Frequency of Opening Your Refrigerator
Just like when you take a lid off a cooking pot and the heat escapes, opening a refrigerator let’s the heat enter, making the appliance use more power to cool it down again. If you frequently open your fridge door, you overwork it. It would be best to keep a list of what’s inside and stick it to the fridge door. This way, you only have to open your refrigerator if there is something definite that you want to take out.
Energy Saving Tip #7: Use the Oven Efficiently
Electric and gas ovens are precise cooking instruments. This level of precision can be used to your advantage.
- Minimize preheating. There are only a handful of recipes that need preheating. Check your recipe. If it’s a long cooking food, preheating is not necessary.
- Use the timer. Because ovens can achieve the exact temperature that you desire, you can check the recipe as to how long it takes for the food to be cooked and set the time. There is no need to open the oven door frequently to check how it’s going. Opening the oven door drops the temperature by 25 to 30 degrees, thereby making your oven work again to achieve the desired temperature, and also lengthening the cooking duration.
- Use glass baking cookware. Glass can retain heat better than other medium.
It may seem small at first, but these energy saving tips will add up to saving more energy. Whether you are just trying to cut down your electric bill or you are switching to other renewable resource such as solar power, reducing your power consumption is a step towards a better lifestyle.