With Winter coming, it’s important to take advice from the story of the three little pigs. Winter will huff and puff and while it may not blow your house down, it will drive your heating costs up! Here are a few good ways to keep costs down during these cold winter months.
Starting with the kitchen, there are a ton of different ways to conserve heat and save money.
Tips around the oven:
Instead, of opening the oven door to take a quick peek and what’s cooking, turn on the oven light and check the cooking status through the oven window. Opening the oven door lowers the temperature inside, by as much as 25 degrees, which increases cooking time and wastes energy.
Also try to cook several items at the same time, instead of just one. Just make sure you leave enough room for the heat to circulate around each casserole and pie plate.
Tips around the stove:
When cooking on your stovetop, match the size of the pan to the heating element. This ensures that more heat will get to the pan and less will be lost to the surrounding air. Believe it or not, a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner will waste more than 40 percent of the energy!
Clean burners and reflectors provide better heating and save energy at the same time. If you need new reflectors, buy quality ones. It will save you money in the long run. The best reflectors on the market can save as much as one-third of the energy used when cooking on top of the stove.
Consider alternative ways of cooking:
Don’t forget about the other cooking appliances during the holidays. Fast and efficient microwave ovens use around 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens, and they don’t heat up your kitchen. Consider using them to bake yams, steam your favorite fresh vegetables, or heat up leftover turkey and gravy for a midnight snack. They’re especially efficient for smaller portions or items.
Tips around the refrigerator:
Just like your stove, your refrigerator and freezer are also going to get a real workout over the holidays. While newer refrigerators are much more energy efficient than older ones, they remain one of the largest energy consumers in your house.
In order to allow your refrigerator and freezer to operate efficiently, try keeping the doors closed as much as possible so the cold air doesn’t escape. On the other hand, leaving the door open for a longer period of time while you take out the items you need is more efficient than opening and closing it several times.
Tips around the dishwasher:
An out of the box way to save energy at holiday time is to gather everyone together in the kitchen and wash and dry your dishes by hand. This can be fun and efficient for everyone, but don’t keep a steady stream of hot water flowing, or you’ll waste more energy than you’ll save.
If you decide to use the dishwasher, wash full loads only. If you must rinse your dishes before loading them, use only cold water so you’re not running up your energy bill by heating water unnecessarily.
Remember to always use the energy-saving cycles, at least whenever possible. Dishwashers that feature air power or overnight dry settings can save up to 10 percent of your dishwashing energy costs.
Saving energy in the kitchen is a habit you should practice all year long, begin now and your savings will be in full swing by the holidays. Throughout the holiday season and into the New Year, you’ll watch your energy bills drop even as you use less of our precious energy resources – just one more thing to be thankful for this holiday season.