The kitchen is the hub of the household. What with preparing and cooking meals, and often eating them too, as well as washing up and popping the kettle on for a cup of tea, it’s where most of the action is, and where a large proportion of household energy goes. Here are a few ways to cut down on energy use in the kitchen without compromising on a cosy, good-looking room, or tasty meals.
1 – Save time and energy when cooking by boiling water in the kettle first, rather than heating it on the hob from cold. Energy is wasted if you cook without putting a lid on the pan, if you put a small pan on a large burner, or if flames from the hob lick up the sides of the saucepan, so choose the right burner and adjust the heat accordingly. Steaming instead of boiling uses less water and makes for crisper, tastier vegetables.
2 – When using the oven, keep the door shut as much as possible so as not to lose heat. To get the most out of the oven, why not cook in large batches and freeze leftovers, or bake a cake on one shelf while the main meal cooks on another?
3 – Lighting is important in the kitchen, as much for safety as for making the room look good. Now is the time to replace old fluorescent tubes, or hot, high energy halogen spotlights, with more energy efficient alternatives. Low energy bulbs and LED lights use less electricity and give off less heat, making the kitchen a more pleasant place to be.
4 – Refrigerators and freezers work around the clock. Make their job easier by allowing air to circulate behind your fridge, and by keeping the door open for as short a time as possible. Allow food to cool to room temperature before placing it in the fridge or freezer, and defrost appliances regularly. Overfilling your fridge will also reduce its efficiency.
5 – To avoid wasted energy, don’t fill the kettle to the maximum level, but use only the quantity you need. Switch the kettle off when you notice it boiling, rather than waiting for the automatic cut-out. If you notice the tap dripping after you’ve filled the kettle, get it fixed, as leaky plumbing wastes water and adds to bills. The same goes for washing up under a running tap, so fill a bowl instead.
6 – When it’s time to replace kitchen appliances, from small items like kettles to large investments like fridges and cookers, purchasing a more energy efficient product is well worth the time and effort spent researching the options. Any new appliance sold in the UK will have a label giving its energy efficiency category, from A to G, and energy consumption during typical use. As well as being better for the environment, more efficient appliances often run more quickly and quietly.
7 – Finally, shop around for the best deals on electricity, gas and water tariffs. Using cheap electricity in efficient appliances can cut your annual bills by a significant amount.
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