Summer is here, and so is the scorching heat AND the rising energy bills. While there isn't much you can do about the temperature outside, there is plenty you can do inside to mitigate your energy costs — and it all starts with your appliances!
By changing a few habits while you cook or do laundry, you'll use less energy and save on your monthly energy bills! But don't worry; these tips aren't too complicated — they'll just take a while to become a habit!
1. Oven Tips
When hot summer days come, sometimes the last thing you want to do is cook a hot meal, especially when the energy rates are higher. But you don't have to go without your favorite meals to feel comfortable and save costs!
- Preheat Limit: most recipes call for more preheating time than is required. Instead, check the oven temperature with an oven thermometer or the preheat oven countdown to see if it's ready to start cooking.
- Oven Door: keep the oven door closed as much as possible — every time it's open, it can drop the oven temperature by 25 degrees! Use the oven light or timer to check when the dish is done.
- Meat Thermometer: for roasting meat, an oven-proof meat thermometer will tell you when the meat should be done, reducing the number of times you open the oven door!
- Door Seals: keep the oven door seals clean and airtight so the heat doesn't escape!
- Residual Heat: try to finish cooking your meals with residual heat to reduce the time spent using the oven (you'll need to cut the oven cooking time).
Pro Tip: If your oven isn't at the preferred temperature or you're cooking at a lower temperature, remember to extend the cooking time by a few minutes.
2. Microwave Tips
If the idea of using the oven when it's just so hot outside is too much, don't worry; that's what the microwave is for! In fact, by using the microwave to primarily cook your food, you'll use 1/3 less energy than the stove! Microwaves are designed to heat liquid, or the liquid contained in food, so it doesn't waste time or energy to heat the air or the container!
And if you have a combination microwave oven, you can roast your food too!
3. Cooktop Tips
Cooler days mean you can use the cooktop to prepare your meals, and if you have an induction cooktop, you're already way ahead of your energy-savings goals. But if you don't, you can still take measures to reduce your energy use!
- Keep the burners and reflectors clean to better reflect the heat and save energy on gas cooktops.
- Make sure your gas burners are showing blue flames (yellow means the gas is burning inefficiently).
- Match the size of the pan to the heating elements!
- Cover your cooking pans and pots, especially when boiling liquids, so it cooks faster and uses less energy!
4. Refrigerator Tips
The biggest energy-use culprit in your kitchen is the refrigerator, especially during the summer. It takes more energy for the fridge to maintain cooler temperatures when the outside temperatures rise. However, with these measures, you can keep the refrigerator running at peak temperature with minimal energy usage!
- Covering the food stored in the fridge helps limit the moisture evaporating so the compressor doesn't have to work as hard to cool the air (it'll also help with the smell!).
- Clean the coils on the back of the fridge annually (or more if they get especially dirty) so the compressor cools faster and runs less frequently — this will also extend the life of your refrigerator!
- The door alarm on newer refrigerators notifies you when the fridge doors are left open so you don't waste the cool air.
- Organize your refrigerator sections so it's easier to see what's in there and minimize how long the door is open.
- Keep the seals clean and tight to retain the temperature! To test your seals, place a piece of paper half in and half out; if you can pull it out easily, the seal may need replacing (or the whole fridge itself!).
- Make sure the freezer is clean and defrosted! Any ice buildup acts as insulation to the rest of the freezer, so it'll have to work extra hard to keep things cold!
5. Dishwasher Tips
Another way to reduce your energy costs in the kitchen is by adjusting how you wash your dishes!
- Don't hand-wash or pre-rinse! The most water-efficient, full-size dishwasher uses about ten times less water to wash the same load by hand.
- Fill the dishwasher to capacity for each wash! This method uses less energy, less water, and less detergent!
- Wash the dishes outside of the peak hours provided by your energy provided. Most dishwashers have a delay timer you can use to road a load overnight!
- Use the Eco cycle settings to wash the dishes — the load will take longer, but the process uses less water and energy!
6. Laundry Tips
Doing the laundry means using lots of water and energy — or does it? That depends on how you do it!
- Lower Temperatures: wash each load at a lower temperature so you use less energy to heat the water. Look for the Eco setting, which automatically lowers the wash and rinse temperatures!
- Spin Speed: set your washer to the maximum spin speed to minimize the tumble drying time (or run multiple spin cycles!).
- Steam: use the steam function on the washer or the dryer to minimize wrinkles so you don't use extra energy to iron your clothes.
- Lint Filter: clean the lint filter regularly to keep proper airflow so it runs more efficiently.
- Dryer: always run full loads whenever possible! And don't forget to line-dry when possible!
Pro Tip: Heat pump dryers are the most energy-efficient dryers! They also release the least amount of air wherever they're installed.
7. Other Energy Saving Tips
Other energy-saving tips you can utilize in your home include:
- Using energy-efficient appliances, to begin with! Look for the Energy Star® label on appliances when you upgrade!
- Cook with glass or ceramic pans since they retain heat better than metal.
- Unplug or turn off your appliances when not in use (you can put a timer on a switch or power strip to turn it off for the night automatically!).
- Install a ceiling fan in the kitchen or nearby dining area to circulate the air and keep things comfortable.
- Avoid running your appliances at peak energy times, typically from 4 pm to 6 pm. Keep an eye out for electricity emergencies when they're declared!
Stay Cool & Save!
As you can see, there are several measures you can take to cut your energy costs — and some of them are so simple! But if your current appliances don't have eco settings or door alarms, or if they're a little old, don't wait for the hottest days to come — upgrade today at Leonardi Appliance! We have a wide variety of energy-saving appliances that'll make a huge difference on your monthly utility bills!
And if you have any questions, call or stop by — our team will be waiting for you!