Learn how to save on power costs by minimising energy usage in the kitchen.
Doing our part for the environment is no longer labeled as 'tree-hugging'. And going green in the kitchen with energy-efficient fridges, ovens and freezers saves more money in the long run. So everyone ends up happy.
Statistics show that the average Australian household spends between $38 and $47 per week1 on their energy bills - almost 20% of which is generated in the kitchen alone.
The good news is that reducing your kitchen energy bills is easy. With some minor changes to your usage habits, you could save hundreds.
It is not commonly known, but the refrigerator is the biggest energy drain in the kitchen. It works 24/7 and the older your model, the more energy it consumes.
Older units manufactured before 2009 may use up to 40% more than a newer model. The latest models improved by up to 30% on that. So buying an energy efficient refrigerator is a worthy investment.
The cost of running your fridge or freezer per year can vary from between $171.50 - $474.60. This depends on the size of the fridge and factors mentioned below.
Here are some helpful tips to get more out of your energy efficient fridge.Allow air circulation
- Keep the refrigerator at a reasonable distance from the wall, especially if it is a wall facing a good deal of outside sunshine.
- It is also good to leave some room inside for cold air to circulate to all items. But beware of a too empty fridge, causing it to use more energy to cool less items
- Keep it away from all and any heat sources - even direct sunlight.
- Vacuum them as part of your routine so they stay clean and function properly
- A sure way to know whether your seal needs replacing is to place a thin piece of paper between the seal and the door as you close it. If the paper comes out without resistance, you know it’s time to change it.
- Regularly clean and check for trapped debris, or tears and defects.
- Keep the fresh food compartment between 3 and 4°C.
- The Freezer compartment should be at -18°C.
- Avoid opening and closing the fridge more than necessary - it will use energy to regulate temperatures.
- Going on holiday? Empty the fridge if possible, disconnect it and leave the door open. Newer models have an energy saving 'holiday' setting.
- Using the "old fridge" in the garage is a false economy as it’s generally in the hottest space in the house and may consume huge amounts of electricity to compensate trying to cool in a hot environment.
The next in line of highest energy usage in your kitchen are your cooking appliances. Cooking costs on even highly efficient, modern appliances could get to over $1000.00 per year for the average household!
Here are some tips to keep you from wasting that precious energy:General rules
- Try and use the smaller appliance where appropriate. A microwave is better than the oven, a toaster better than the oven grill and so on. See where you can adjust in your own kitchen.
- Instead of using the microwave to defrost your food, make a habit of remembering to put it in the fridge from the freezer the day before so it can thaw there.
- Once again, a proper seal is essential to keep heat from escaping, causing the oven to work harder to keep the temperature constant.
- Clean and inspect the seals regularly.
- Do not preheat the oven earlier than necessary.
- When using the oven, don’t open and close it too often. Rather rely on timers and the oven light.
- Replace the oven light when needed.
- Don’t forget to switching it off immediately you’ve finished using it.
- A solid cooktop takes longer to cool down, use this to your advantage by switching it off a few minutes early. Complete your cooking on residual heat
- Match pot and pan sizes to the cooktop.
- Use lids to build up heat and cook faster.
The final word
Be aware of the appliances in your kitchen that drain energy. Calculate the costs according to your provider and consider where you can save more.